Weekend Box Office (January 30 - February 1, 2004)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Sony scored a touchdown with the urban dance drama You Got Served which opened well above expectations taking over the number one spot at the North American box office. Fellow freshmen The Perfect Score and The Big Bounce flopped in their debuts over Super Bowl weekend while Golden Globe winners and Academy Award nominees capitalized on their kudos with strong results. The first month of the new year ended on a down note as ticket sales were once again below the same weekend from last year.

You Got Served pulled in moviegoers from New England to the Carolinas and beyond powering its way to a surprising top spot debut with $16.1M, according to final studio figures. Sony's Screen Gems release averaged a potent $8,341 per theater at 1,933 venues. Starring members of the R&B singing group B2K, the PG-13 film outperformed other recent urban dramas revolving around dance competitions like Honey and Drumline which bowed to just under $13M each. According to studio data, 60% of the audience was female, 52% was under 18, and 55% was African-American. The studio utilized low-cost ethnic marketing on You Got Served and reached its target audience with precision and efficiency. With a streamlined $8M negative cost, Sony is well on its way to turning a profit. Long-term playability is iffy, though. The film's average grade from nearly 4,000 users on Yahoo Movies was a D, as of Sunday afternoon.

Dropping a spot to second place was Ashton Kutcher's supernatural thriller The Butterfly Effect with $9.6M in its second weekend. Off a moderate 44%, the R-rated pic has scared up a solid $31.7M in ten days and seems headed for $60-65M. Close behind in third was the Jennifer Aniston-Ben Stiller comedy Along Came Polly with $9.3M in its third date. The Universal hit has collected $66M in 17 days and is headed for the $95-100M range.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King experienced the smallest decline of its seven-week run slipping just 22% to $5.3M. The New Line juggernaut capitalized on its four Golden Globe wins (including Best Picture - Drama and Best Director) as well as its astounding eleven Academy Award nominations and remained in the top five once again. By comparison, The Fellowship of the Ring rose 30% on the weekend after Oscar nominations were announced while The Two Towers slid 13%. With its cume now standing at $345.3M, The Return of the King now stands as the highest-grossing installment of the trilogy and sits at number seven on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters right behind Jurassic Park which grossed $357.1M in 1993.

Opening with low scores in fifth place was the S.A.T. heist comedy The Perfect Score which bowed to just $4.9M. Playing in 2,208 sites, the PG-13 film averaged a poor $2,207 per theater for Paramount. Young girls were the primary audience, according to studio data. Females made up 57% of the crowd while two-thirds were under the age of 18. Competition for teens and young adults from You Got Served and The Butterfly Effect made it difficult for Perfect to score. Produced with MTV Films, the budget was just under $20M.

Five holdovers followed within striking distance of each other. Tim Burton's Big Fish slipped 36% to $4.5M and lifted its total to $55.3M. Look for the Sony release to reach roughly $70M. Six Oscar nominations and a pair of acting statues from the Golden Globes helped boost interest in Clint Eastwood's murder mystery Mystic River which climbed 30% to $4.4M. Averaging a good $3,196 from 1,370 theaters, the Warner Bros. release has now collected $64.9M to date and has a shot at reaching a much higher box office plateau thanks to all the industry acclaim and awards.

In eighth place was the Steve Martin comedy Cheaper by the Dozen which grossed $4.3M in its sixth weekend boosting the sum to $128M. Fox's blockbuster winter family film could end with about $140M. Off 43% in its sophomore frame, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! collected $4.2M and took its ten-day cume to $13.1M. Budgeted at $24M, the DreamWorks teen pic should conclude with only $25-28M. Slipping 19% was Miramax's Cold Mountain with $4.1M in its sixth weekend. The Jude Law-Nicole Kidman war drama has taken in $78.4M thus far and could be headed for around $95M.

Debuting with embarrassing results outside of the top ten was the Owen Wilson comedy The Big Bounce which grossed $3.3M. Averaging a pitiful $1,448 from 2,304 theaters, the Warner Bros. release drew pans from most critics.

Two films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. The Jack Nicholson-Diane Keaton comedy Something's Gotta Give slipped only 17% to $3.4M boosting the cume to $111.9M. Sony's hit pic should find its way to about $125M. Warner Bros. saw its biker film Torque continue to decelerate rapidly as the Ice Cube actioner took a 67% spill to $1.5M. With $19.7M in 17 days, the PG-13 film should end its disappointing run with $22-24M.

Among films widening after winning Golden Globe awards and Academy Award nominations this past week, Newmarket's Monster took in $3.4M from 668 venues for a $5,043 average, up 63% from last weekend. The Charlize Theron-Christina Ricci serial killer drama doubled its count and has shot up $10.5M to date with a promising future ahead. Theron won the Globe for Best Actress - Drama and is the frontrunner for the Oscar.

Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation, a triple Globe winner for picture, actor, and screenplay, expanded from 357 to 632 locations and grossed $2.2M, up 197%. Averaging $3,412 in its 21st week, the Focus title has banked $37.4M to date and hits the DVD market on Tuesday. Fox relaunched Master and Commander after securing ten Oscar nods, but the moviegoing public was not boarding the ship. The Russell Crowe epic expanded from 235 to 1,118 theaters and collected $2.1M for a soggy $1,884 average. Cume to date is $87.6M from North America and a similar amount from international waters.

The top ten films grossed $66.7M which was down 22% from last year when The Recruit opened at number one over a non-Super Bowl frame with $16.3M; and down 9% from 2002 when Black Hawk Down remained on top with $11.1M.

Compared to projections, You Got Served stepped way past my $7M forecast. The Perfect Score and The Big Bounce both opened below my respective predictions of $10M and $7M.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on Mystic River. In last week's survey, readers were asked which new release this weekend would have the biggest opening. Of 1,594 responses, 48% said The Big Bounce, 43% picked The Perfect Score, while only 9% correctly guessed You Got Served.

For reviews of Lost in Translation and Big Fish, plus a list of Oscar nominees, visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Barbershop 2, Miracle, and Catch That Kid all open.

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

# Title Jan 30 - Feb 1 Jan. 23 - 25 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 You Got Served $ 16,123,105 1,933 1 $ 8,341 $ 16,123,105 Sony
2 The Butterfly Effect 9,556,280 17,065,227 -44.0 2,605 2 3,668 31,735,064 New Line
3 Along Came Polly 9,310,060 16,352,625 -43.1 3,052 3 3,050 66,002,555 Universal
4 LOTR: The Return of the King 5,310,803 6,786,756 -21.7 2,256 7 2,354 345,331,815 New Line
5 The Perfect Score 4,873,819 2,208 1 2,207 4,873,819 Paramount
6 Big Fish 4,533,655 7,110,138 -36.2 2,280 8 1,988 55,316,067 Sony
7 Mystic River 4,378,417 3,368,197 30.0 1,370 17 3,196 64,858,601 Warner Bros.
8 Cheaper by the Dozen 4,285,230 6,381,508 -32.8 2,396 6 1,788 128,034,055 Fox
9 Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! 4,211,395 7,320,066 -42.5 2,808 2 1,500 13,107,536 DreamWorks
10 Cold Mountain 4,074,047 5,004,505 -18.6 2,500 6 1,630 78,375,713 Miramax
11 Monster 3,369,353 2,052,238 64.2 668 6 5,044 10,454,638 NewMarket
12 Something's Gotta Give 3,353,974 4,017,675 -16.5 1,601 8 2,095 111,884,639 Sony
13 The Big Bounce 3,336,374 2,304 1 1,448 3,336,374 Warner Bros.
14 Calendar Girls 2,520,998 2,385,676 5.7 963 7 2,618 25,005,759 Buena Vista
15 Lost in Translation 2,156,557 725,768 197.1 632 21 3,412 37,437,901 Focus
16 Master and Commander 2,106,759 355,772 492.2 1,118 12 1,884 87,568,647 Fox
17 Torque 1,489,491 4,492,005 -66.8 1,541 3 967 19,728,619 Warner Bros.
18 Girl with a Pearl Earring 1,354,893 540,954 150.5 391 8 3,465 4,171,889 Lions Gate
19 The Last Samurai 1,203,487 2,177,479 -44.7 808 9 1,489 107,459,807 Warner Bros.
20 My Baby's Daddy 774,147 2,033,788 -61.9 729 4 1,062 16,773,663 Miramax
Top 5 $ 45,174,067 $ 54,634,812 -17.3
Top 10 66,656,811 77,898,702 -14.4
Top 20 88,322,844 93,032,391 -5.1
Top 20 vs. 2003 88,322,844 106,743,917 -17.3

Last Updated : February 2, 2004 at 6:00PM EST

Gitesh Pandya can be seen each Friday on "The Biz" airing at 12:30pm and 9:30pm ET on CNNfn.