Weekend Box Office (February 11 - 13, 2000)

THIS WEEKEND Despite competition from three new releases, Scream 3 slashed up more business than any other film to remain the number one movie at the box office. The Neve Campbell-Courteney Cox frightfest was followed by the much-anticipated return of Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach, a surprisingly strong opening for the family film Snow Day, and Disney's latest cartoon The Tigger Movie. An influx of new commercially appealing product finally shook up the charts which have seen little change in the last few weeks.

For the second weekend in a row, moviegoers made the hit horror sequel Scream 3 the most popular film in North America by spending $16.3M on the Miramax release, according to final figures. But the weekend take plunged 53% from the $34.7M debut from a week ago giving it the heaviest decline in the top ten. After ten days, Scream 3 has scared up $57M. The sophomore performance was a little better than for its predecessor Scream 2 which fell 58% in its second try scoring $55.1M in its first ten days of release. The concluding chapter of Wes Craven's trilogy appears to have a very good chance of eventually reaching the $100M mark domestically, even if it involves a rerelease similar to the ones that helped the first two Scream pics reach the century mark.

Leonardo DiCaprio's much-talked-about return to the big screen resulted in a number two opening for his adventurous thriller The Beach which grossed $15.3M over the weekend. The Fox film played in 2,547 theaters (27% fewer than Scream 3) and led all movies in the top ten with a $5,998 average. Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) and adapted from the Alex Garland novel, The Beach features DiCaprio as a young American traveler in Thailand who finds a remote island that turns out to be far from the paradise he thought it would be. Critics were generally not impressed with the film.

After catapulting to the status of global heartthrob with the success of Titanic, DiCaprio has spent nearly two years out of the spotlight and has not starred in a major release since The Man in the Iron Mask. That MGM/UA film was released in March 1998 and debuted with $17.2M and with an average of $5,570 per theater. With its R-rating, The Beach may have alienated part of DiCaprio's core fan base of young girls. However, in this megaplex era, younger teens are known for buying tickets to PG films only to sneak into auditoriums showing the R movies they really want to see.

Fox distribution chief Tom Sherak noted that The Beach was produced for about $50M and its opening weekend audience was 57% female and 55% under the age of 25. The film also opened simultaneously in the United Kingdom this weekend with roughly $3.7M in 310 venues for a smashing $11,935 average. DiCaprio, who graces the cover of Time magazine this week, is currently in Europe to promote his new film appearing most recently at the London premiere and at the Berlin Film Festival. Jack Dawson's incredible appeal overseas should allow The Beach to drift away to a solid worldwide cume in the months ahead. The Fox title will spread across Europe in the month ahead and invade Japan and Australia by April.

Surprising many industry observers was Paramount's kidpic Snow Day which took in $14.3M in its launch giving it the biggest opening ever for a family film in the January-February period. Storming into 2,664 sites, the tale of mischievous students enjoying an unexpected day off from school averaged a terrific $5,380 per theater. Snow Day was produced in association with Nickelodeon for $13M and is on its way to becoming another moneymaker for the Viacom siblings. With the R-rated films Scream 3 and The Beach attracting the over-16 crowd, and The Tigger Movie aiming for young children, Snow Day found a void appealing to pre-teens and offered a film that groups of all ages could enjoy together. Nickelodeon's brandname is increasing in value at the box office and heavy promotion from both the cable network and Paramount were key to the movie's successful opening. Plus, kidpics have been in short supply recently and the need for a new family film was great.

Prancing and singing in fourth place was Disney's animated film The Tigger Movie which opened with $9.4M. Launching very wide in 2,723 theaters, the Winnie the Pooh spinoff averaged a so-so $3,462 per venue. According to Buena Vista, Tigger appealed mostly to young children and their parents with half of the audience coming from the age 2-11 bracket. 95% of those polled felt the film was excellent or very good indicating that Tigger may hang around for a while this spring. Most critics felt that the Disney toon would please youngsters, but would have little appeal to anyone of double digit age.

Paramount was certainly bold to take on the mighty Disney machine opening Snow Day against The Tigger Movie on the same weekend. But with a film that appealed to a wider age group, and featured parent-friendly stars like Chevy Chase, Paramount pulled off a superb debut for Snow Day that the studio hopes will pay off throughout the spring season. While Scream 3 led the national box office on Friday and Saturday, Snow Day actually grossed more than any other film on Sunday.

Sliding only 27%, Universal's biopic The Hurricane punched up another $3.6M bringing its cume to $42.4M. The Denzel Washington film is expected to nab a few Oscar nominations on Tuesday which could keep the film floating like a butterfly. The death row saga The Green Mile slipped just 23% to $3.1M pushing its tally to $124.4M.

New Line's comedy sequel Next Friday grossed $2.8M, down 34%, and brought its cume to date to a solid $49.4M. Stuart Little suffered the worst decline of its two-month run thanks to the arrival of the two new family films. The Sony blockbuster collected $2.7M, off 43%, climbing to $132M.

Galaxy Quest placed ninth with $2.2M putting its total at $65.8M. After topping the box office just two weeks ago, the Ashley Judd-Ewan McGregor thriller Eye of the Beholder managed to take in just $2.1M giving it a $15.1M sum in 17 days.

Three films fell out of the top ten over the weekend. The Talented Mr. Ripley, starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwenyth Paltrow, grossed $1.7M in its eighth frame pushing its cume to $77.9M. Produced for $40M by Paramount and Miramax, the Anthony Minghella picture should conclude its run with a devious $80-85M.

Sony's $24M drama Girl, Interrupted, starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie, has grossed $27M thus far and seems headed for a mediocre $30-32M final tally. The Freddie Prinze Jr. teen romance Down to You has brought in $18.4M to date and should reach a mild $20-22M.

IMAX fans continued to flock to Fantasia 2000 which conjured up $1.7M in its seventh weekend. Off a slim 8%, the animated Disney hit now stands with $21.2M domestically from only 54 sites.

Toy Story 2 scooped up another $1.15M and raised its massive cume to $238.7M which surpassed the gross of 1984's Ghostbusters for the number eighteen spot among domestic blockbusters. The next milestone for Disney's Golden Globe-winning picture will be reaching the $241.9M of 1996's Twister.

Compared to projections, The Beach opened very close to my $16M forecast. However, Snow Day raced far ahead of my $7M prediction. The Tigger Movie came in just a tad below my $10M projection.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on the box office potential of next weekend's new releases. In last week's survey, readers were asked which of six movie sequels they most wanted to see. Of 3,167 responses, 34% picked Indiana Jones 4, 29% chose Terminator 3, 13% selected Die Hard 4, 10% picked Batman 5, 8% said Jurassic Park 3, and 6% chose Austin Powers 3.

Be sure to read the Weekly Rewind column which goes back to February 1991 when The Silence of the Lambs opened at number one. For reviews of The Beach, Scream 3, and Snow Day visit The Chief Report.

The top ten films over the weekend grossed $71.9M which was down 8% from last year when Message in a Bottle debuted on top with $16.8M, and down 23% from 1998 when Titanic romanced another $28.2M over Valentine's Day weekend to spend its ninth frame at number one.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for the crowded Presidents' Day weekend when four new pictures charge into theaters - Hanging Up, The Whole Nine Yards, Pitch Black, and Boiler Room.

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

# Title Feb. 11 - 13 Feb. 4 - 6 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Scream 3 $ 16,318,053 $ 34,713,342 -53.0 3,467 2 $ 4,707 $ 56,978,971 Miramax
2 The Beach 15,277,921 2,547 1 5,998 15,277,921 Fox
3 Snow Day 14,331,819 2,664 1 5,380 14,331,819 Paramount
4 The Tigger Movie 9,427,532 2,723 1 3,462 9,427,532 Buena Vista
5 The Hurricane 3,615,625 4,940,420 -26.8 2,078 7 1,740 42,389,306 Universal
6 The Green Mile 3,087,632 4,017,133 -23.1 2,012 10 1,535 124,410,124 Warner Bros.
7 Next Friday 2,814,341 4,286,355 -34.3 1,364 5 2,063 49,429,653 New Line
8 Stuart Little 2,712,397 4,713,252 -42.5 2,351 9 1,154 132,030,874 Sony
9 Galaxy Quest 2,180,374 3,312,708 -34.2 1,589 8 1,372 65,761,041 DreamWorks
10 Eye of the Beholder 2,129,219 4,213,996 -49.5 1,583 3 1,345 15,086,354 Destination
11 Fantasia 2000 1,693,439 1,841,001 -8.0 54 7 31,360 21,242,753 Buena Vista
12 The Talented Mr. Ripley 1,686,151 2,488,414 -32.2 1,266 8 1,332 77,918,619 Paramount
13 The Cider House Rules 1,529,188 1,934,415 -20.9 802 10 1,907 22,651,184 Miramax
14 Down To You 1,366,939 2,707,955 -49.5 1,719 4 795 18,372,793 Miramax
15 Girl, Interrupted 1,328,768 2,556,403 -48.0 1,380 8 963 27,005,504 Sony
16 Toy Story 2 1,153,651 2,254,993 -48.8 1,305 13 884 238,691,281 Buena Vista
17 The Sixth Sense 1,116,186 298,909 273.4 831 28 1,343 279,575,220 Buena Vista
18 Angela's Ashes 1,086,608 1,539,191 -29.4 614 8 1,770 10,200,544 Paramount
19 Magnolia 797,330 1,290,415 -38.2 497 9 1,604 20,480,965 New Line
20 Topsy Turvy 743,658 730,330 1.8 224 9 3,320 3,242,290 USA Films
Top 5 $ 58,970,950 $ 52,867,365 11.5
Top 10 71,894,913 67,949,978 5.8
Top 20 84,396,831 81,221,001 3.9

Last Updated : February 14 at 9:30PM EST

Written by Gitesh Pandya