Weekend Box Office (February 23 - 25, 2001)

THIS WEEKEND With two new releases both disappointing in their debuts, the top two films remained unchanged as the blockbuster thriller Hannibal held the number one spot for the third consecutive weekend. The Kurt Russell-Kevin Costner heist pic 3000 Miles to Graceland and the Brendan Fraser comedy Monkeybone both performed poorly in their first tries with moviegoers while most holdovers suffered low to moderate declines.

Still on top of the box office world was the hit sequel Hannibal which grossed $15.8M, according to final studio figures, dropping 47% from the Friday-to-Sunday portion of last weekend's holiday frame. After only 17 days of release, the MGM/Universal co-production has devoured a staggering $128.5M and is just a couple of days away from blasting past the $130.7M domestic take of the film's predecessor - The Silence of The Lambs. However, the Oscar-winning thriller which starred Jodie Foster was released in 1991 and played in about half as many theaters at a time when ticket prices were much lower.

Hannibal also continued its assault on theaters around the world with monster openings in over a dozen additional markets across Latin America and Scandanavia. The Ridley Scott film collected $21.3M from 3,183 screens in 20 countries and surpassed the $200M mark in worldwide receipts.

MGM distribution president Larry Gleason stated that Hannibal was declining at a lower rate than most recent horror sequels in part because the R-rated film plays to an older audience. He sees the Anthony Hopkins-Julianne Moore thriller reaching about $175M domestically. Hannibal's three-week reign is expected to end next weekend with the opening of The Mexican starring Hollywood heavyweights Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt.

Dropping a reasonable 35% was the Chris Rock comedy Down to Earth which took in $11.2M bringing its ten-day cume to $34M. The $28M Paramount remake should find its way to $60-65M.

Opening modestly in third place was the action thriller 3000 Miles to Graceland with $7.2M from 2,545 theaters. Averaging a weak $2,814 per site, the Warner Bros. release stars Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner as criminals who dress up as Elvis to rob a casino. Graceland was produced by Franchise Pictures - the company responsible for the big-budget flops Battlefield Earth and Get Carter from last year. Warner distribution chief Dan Fellman insisted "We have no financial backing in this film - we just distribute it." However, the studio is exposed to the millions spent on prints and advertising. Reviews were mostly bad for Graceland and audiences gave the R-rated film a C grade, according to CinemaScore, indicating rough seas ahead.

In fourth place was Disney's family film Recess: School's Out which slipped 31% in its second weekend to $6.9M. As the only major offering for kids in the marketplace, the G-rated animated film has taken in an impressive $22.7M in ten days and should reach $45-50M.

Adding another 98 locations, Sony Classics collected $6.6M for its mythic action-romance Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. With ten Oscar nominations to its credit, the Ang Lee picture slid 25% and has grossed a terrific $81.9M to date.

In its second weekend, the romantic drama Sweet November took a bitter 47% fall to $5.1M. The Keanu Reeves-Charlize Theron picture has grossed $17.8M for Warner Bros. in ten days and looks set to conclude with $25-30M.

Moviegoers kept on sampling best-picture nominees Traffic and Chocolat as both acclaimed films held up well on the road to Oscar night. Traffic took in $5.1M, off just 18%, and raised its total to $86.2M. Miramax expanded Chocolat by adding 363 theaters and grossed $4.8M which was nearly identical to last weekend's Friday-to-Sunday tally. Its cume is now a sweet $40.1M.

The Wedding Planner continued to show strong legs dipping just 31% to $4M giving the Sony release a solid $52.2M to date. Now in its fifth weekend, the Jennifer Lopez-Matthew McConaughey comedy has never declined by more than 31%.

Tom Hanks rounded out the top ten with Cast Away which collected $3.1M in its tenth weekend pushing its mammoth cume to $220.9M. The Fox/DreamWorks co-production rose to number 23 on the all-time domestic blockbuster list and sits between 1997's The Lost World ($229.1M) and 1993's Mrs. Doubtfire ($217.8M).

Opening outside of the top ten was the big-budget comedy Monkeybone starring Brendan Fraser which grossed just $2.7M. The films explores the tormented mind of a comatose cartoonist. Carrying a hefty production cost of $70M, the Fox release played in 1,722 theaters and averaged a pitiful $1,559 per venue. Monkeybone combines live-action with stop animation and was rated PG-13. Remarking on the rating, the studio's distribution head Bruce Snyder stated "The film is not for smaller children - it's for teens and older. Unfortunately, we just didn't reach them."

Falling out of the top ten was Sony's comedy Saving Silverman with $2M, plunging 50%, for a $17.2M sum. The $22M film should end its run with about $20M.

Sony Classics expanded Ed Harris' biographical drama Pollock into five additional markets and witnessed encouraging results. The well-reviewed picture grossed $450,677 from 32 theaters for a solid $14,084 average. New cities this weekend included San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, San Diego, and Washington D.C. and next weekend the distributor will expand the Oscar-nominated Pollock into the top 20 to 25 markets.

Compared to projections, Hannibal came in very close to my $15M forecast. Both 3000 Miles to Graceland and Monkeybone debuted a few notches below my respective predictions of $10M and $7M.

The top ten films grossed $69.7M which was up 5% from last year when The Whole Nine Yards stayed at number one with $9.6M; and up 19% from 1999 when 8MM debuted in the top spot with $14.3M.

With the Academy Awards right around the corner, track the momentum of all the nominees by visiting the new site GoldDerby.com which compiles expert opinions by top critics and industry insiders and predicts the top contenders in all the important races.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey and predict the opening weekend gross of The Mexican, starring Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt. In last week's survey, readers were asked which film would win the Oscar for best picture. Of 5,020 responses, 37% said Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 35% voted for Gladiator, 21% picked Traffic, 4% selected Chocolat, and 3% chose Erin Brockovich.

Read the Weekly Rewind column which looks back at the opening weekend of The Silence of the Lambs in 1991. For a review of 3000 Miles to Graceland visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Mexican and See Spot Run both open.

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

# Title Feb. 23 - 25 Feb. 16 - 18 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Hannibal $ 15,767,006 $ 29,707,947 -46.9 3,292 3 $ 4,789 $ 128,512,863 MGM
2 Down to Earth 11,211,225 17,268,883 -35.1 2,521 2 4,447 33,971,683 Paramount
3 3000 Miles to Graceland 7,160,521 2,545 1 2,814 7,160,521 Warner Bros.
4 Recess: School's Out 6,931,509 10,065,873 -31.1 2,630 2 2,636 22,702,837 Buena Vista
5 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 6,592,223 8,765,046 -24.8 1,749 12 3,769 81,940,326 Sony Classics
6 Traffic 5,136,889 6,272,757 -18.1 1,755 9 2,927 86,229,142 USA Films
7 Sweet November 5,125,388 9,733,954 -47.3 2,268 2 2,260 17,787,278 Warner Bros.
8 Chocolat 4,761,167 4,864,137 -2.1 1,844 11 2,582 40,062,665 Miramax
9 The Wedding Planner 3,952,643 5,705,381 -30.7 2,064 5 1,915 52,178,614 Sony
10 Cast Away 3,105,171 4,671,063 -33.5 1,997 10 1,555 220,921,892 Fox
11 Monkeybone 2,685,078 1,722 1 1,559 2,685,078 Fox
12 Save the Last Dance 2,286,909 3,405,454 -32.8 1,728 7 1,323 82,731,156 Paramount
13 O Brother, Where Art Thou? 2,269,941 2,862,938 -20.7 830 10 2,735 28,244,888 Buena Vista
14 Saving Silverman 2,048,719 4,108,133 -50.1 2,151 3 952 17,160,510 Sony
15 Finding Forrester 1,093,331 1,705,529 -35.9 808 10 1,353 49,101,695 Sony
16 What Women Want 903,551 1,376,031 -34.3 746 11 1,211 178,932,982 Paramount
17 Snatch 855,247 1,354,241 -36.8 402 6 2,127 28,723,512 Sony
18 Thirteen Days 669,181 983,938 -32.0 471 9 1,421 33,094,473 New Line
19 Miss Congeniality 661,482 1,217,974 -45.7 525 10 1,260 103,271,534 Warner Bros.
20 The Emperor's New Groove 536,522 778,783 -31.1 633 11 848 85,682,589 Buena Vista
Top 5 $ 47,662,484 $ 88,461,595 -46.1
Top 10 69,743,742 118,551,963 -41.2
Top 20 83,753,703 137,133,316 -38.9
Top 20 vs. 2000 83,753,703 83,115,403 0.8

Last Updated : February 26, 2001 at 8:45PM EST