Weekend Box Office (January 28 - 30, 2000)

*** Golden Globe Award Winners ***

THIS WEEKEND From Iowa to New Hampshire, from St. Louis to Tennessee, tumbleweeds blew through theaters across the land as the overall box office slumped to its lowest level in well over a year. Super Bowl festivities, an abundance of old or weak product, and icy cold weather in many regions caused ticket sales to fall harder than a Mike Tyson opponent. Debuting pic Eye of the Beholder managed to top the sluggish frame while most holdovers suffered small declines of 25% or less, especially those taking home Golden Globe awards last weekend.

Ashley Judd and Ewan McGregor were back at number one this weekend with the debut of the crime thriller Eye of the Beholder which opened with $5.96M, according to final studio figures. The story of an investigator tracking a serial killer ambushed 1,751 theaters and averaged a mild $3,403 per venue. The newly formed distribution house Destination Films scored its first top spot debut ever after last fall's horror pic Bats failed to attract an audience. Shot before Judd's recent hit Double Jeopardy, the title was acquired for $4M which the company should eventually recover in rentals. However, poor reviews and a slim Friday-to-Saturday increase of a just 6% make Eye of the Beholder an unlikely contender for theatrical longevity.

This weekend featured the smallest gross for a number one movie in three years. During the January 24-26, 1997 frame, Jerry Maguire topped the chart with a paltry $5.52M in its seventh weekend of release. The top ten cume of $42M is the lowest in sixteen months, since September 11-13, 1998. Most per-theater averages were less than $2,000 indicating that films were playing in front of too many empty seats. However the recent box office drought is expected to end next weekend with the launch of the highly-anticipated slasher sequel Scream 3.

Ice Cube's comedy Next Friday dropped to second place after two weeks in pole position with $5.75M over the weekend. Off 28%, the New Line success story pushed its cume to $39.5M and seems headed for a $50-55M final. For the third straight week, Next Friday boasted the best average in the top ten with $4,309 per site.

Fresh from his victory at last Sunday's Golden Globe Awards, Best Actor winner Denzel Washington pocketed $5.7M for his boxing drama The Hurricane. The Universal film's 12% decline was easily the smallest drop in the top ten and put the Norman Jewison picture's total to date at $30.9M. The publicity surrounding the actor's recent trophy has helped fuel interest in The Hurricane and a likely Oscar nomination two weeks from now could keep fans ringside throughout February.

Popular kids entry Stuart Little grossed $4.8M and enjoyed its seventh lap in the top five. Down 25%, the $103M Sony investment pushed its domestic cume to $123M and may finish in the neighborhood of $135-140M. In its eighth weekend of release, The Green Mile locked up $4M giving the Warner Bros. blockbuster $115.2M thus far. Tom Hanks' $60M death row drama was off just 25% and may grab $130M by the end of its sentence.

Sophomore teen romance Down to You tumbled 47% to sixth place with $4M. Starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Julia Stiles, the Miramax film has grossed a moderate $13M in ten days and could reach around $25M down the road. Tim Allen's hit sci-fi comedy Galaxy Quest eased a slender 25% and took in $3.4M upping its cume to a solid $58.8M. The $60M DreamWorks pic has suffered small declines each week and is headed for a $70-75M final.

Sony's Girl, Interrupted slid just 25% on the heels of its Golden Globe win to $3.25M which puts its cume to date at $21.2M. Although Winona Ryder was a producer and the headlining star, Angelina Jolie has been stealing the spotlight with her Best Supporting Actress trophy and accolades from numerous critics. The $24M female bonding story should eventually reach a domestic tally of $30M though an Oscar nomination for Jon Voight's daughter may take it higher.

The Talented Mr. Ripley starring Matt Damon and Gwenyth Paltrow dropped only 25% to $2.8M in its sixth weekend of play. The $40M Paramount/Miramax collaboration has lifted its cume to $72.2M and is likely to end its solid domestic run with a about $80-85M.

The animated blockbuster Toy Story 2, which was honored with a Golden Globe statue for Best Picture - Comedy or Musical, climbed up to tenth place with $2.34M easing only 21%. Disney's smash hit sequel has grossed a staggering $234.3M to date and will surpass Beverly Hills Cop later this week to take over the number nineteen spot on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters. Eddie Murphy's 1984 comedy hit took in $234.8M but played when ticket prices were much cheaper.

Disney's expensive IMAX film Fantasia 2000 continues to attract long lines at the box office and grossed $1.86M during its fifth frame giving it a slim 9% decline. Buena Vista projects that the film will collect $16.6M domestically during the month of January while playing in just 54 theaters. Across the globe, Fantasia 2000 is screening in a total of 75 sites and should reach a worldwide cume of $21.1M by month's end. Over the weekend, the animated hit averaged a sizzling $34,353 per IMAX theater.

Two low-grossing movies fell off the top ten charts over the weekend. Paramount's Irish-set family drama Angela's Ashes grossed $1.8M in its second weekend of national release falling 43%. Produced with Universal for $13M, the Alan Parker film has collected $6.4M to date and should finish its domestic run with roughly $10M.

Buena Vista's boxing tale Play it to the Bone got clobbered in its second round dropping 51% to $1.7M. The Woody Harrelson-Antonio Banderas pic has gathered just $6.2M in its purse in ten days and should retire with only $8-10M.

Bette Midler saw a less-than-divine opening for her new comedy Isn't She Great which bowed with a poor $1.4M. Hoping to connect with mature women looking for an alternative to the Super Bowl, Universal launched the film in 750 theaters and limped away with a $1,825 per-theater average. Midler's last picture, 1997's That Old Feeling, opened with $5.1M and a $3,240 average.

In limited release, Fine Line's The Cup from Bhutan kicked up $35,179 in two theaters while the Warner Bros. hairdresser comedy The Big Tease debuted in four theaters and collected a total of $29,010.

Compared to projections, Eye of the Beholder was on target with my $6M forecast. Isn't She Great failed to come near my $6M prediction.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on the opening strength of Scream 3. In last week's survey, readers were asked which of four men would win the Oscar for Best Actor. Of 1,919 responses, Denzel Washington and Kevin Spacey both received 34% of the vote while Russell Crowe scored 17% and Jim Carrey garnered 15%.

Be sure to read the Weekly Rewind column which looks at the top-grossing pictures for Miramax Films during the 1990s. This Wednesday's new column reports on the top February openings. For a review of Eye of the Beholder visit The Chief Report.

The top ten films over the weekend grossed a weak $42M which was down 19% from last year when She's All That debuted on top with $16.1M, and down a hefty 46% from 1998 when Titanic spent its seventh weekend at number one with $25.9M allowing it to break the $300M mark.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Scream 3 attacks the box office.

Marketplace: Shop for videos, DVDs, music, books, and electronics at discounted prices using search engines

# Title Jan. 28 - 30 Jan. 21 - 23 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Eye of the Beholder $ 5,959,477 1,751 1 $ 3,403 $ 5,959,477 Destination
2 Next Friday 5,752,715 8,009,943 -28.2 1,335 3 4,309 39,521,569 New Line
3 The Hurricane 5,701,085 6,502,595 -12.3 2,135 5 2,670 30,943,521 Universal
4 Stuart Little 4,778,048 6,407,532 -25.4 3,041 7 1,571 123,010,692 Sony
5 The Green Mile 4,022,589 5,387,502 -25.3 2,371 8 1,697 115,158,512 Warner Bros.
6 Down To You 4,019,014 7,602,507 -47.1 1,977 2 2,033 13,010,648 Miramax
7 Galaxy Quest 3,402,102 4,538,535 -25.0 2,209 6 1,540 58,796,534 DreamWorks
8 Girl, Interrupted 3,254,074 4,314,547 -24.6 1,935 6 1,682 21,160,203 Sony
9 The Talented Mr. Ripley 2,780,431 3,710,484 -25.1 2,141 6 1,299 72,213,467 Paramount
10 Toy Story 2 2,341,447 2,948,281 -20.6 1,796 11 1,304 234,301,509 Buena Vista
11 Fantasia 2000 1,855,056 2,036,226 -8.9 54 5 34,353 16,414,359 Buena Vista
12 Angela's Ashes 1,822,355 3,217,591 -43.4 611 6 2,983 6,436,536 Paramount
13 The Cider House Rules 1,751,673 2,256,157 -22.4 843 8 2,078 18,012,696 Miramax
14 Play it to the Bone 1,687,668 3,427,761 -50.8 1,588 2 1,063 6,209,282 Buena Vista
15 Magnolia 1,586,327 2,109,687 -24.8 1,086 7 1,461 17,438,194 New Line
16 Any Given Sunday 1,437,548 2,415,309 -40.5 2,012 6 714 72,343,586 Warner Bros.
17 Isn't She Great 1,368,705 750 1 1,825 1,368,705 Universal
18 Supernova 1,238,980 2,496,598 -50.4 2,071 3 598 12,157,069 MGM/UA
19 The End of the Affair 1,176,105 1,656,668 -29.0 688 9 1,709 6,928,198 Sony
20 Bicentennial Man 981,842 1,553,058 -36.8 1,202 7 817 55,702,245 Buena Vista
Top 5 $ 26,213,914 $ 33,910,079 -22.7
Top 10 42,010,982 53,118,997 -20.9
Top 20 56,917,241 73,427,353 -22.5

Last Updated : January 31 at 8:00PM EST

Written by Gitesh Pandya