Weekend Box Office (February 28 - March 2, 2003)
THIS WEEKEND Martial arts star Jet Li and rapper-turned-actor DMX joined forces and topped the North American box office with their new action film Cradle 2 the Grave. With only one new wide release in circulation, most other films witnessed small to moderate declines including Oscar darling Chicago which joined the $100M club over the weekend.
Opening at number one with $16.5M according to final figures was Cradle 2 the Grave which stars Li as a Taiwanese government agent out to find the kidnapped daughter of a gang leader played by DMX. Kicking its way into 2,625 theaters, the Warner Bros. release averaged a strong $6,294 per venue. The opening was a bit below the bows of previous actioners the actors did with the producer-director team of Joel Silver and Andrzej Bartkowiak. Romeo Must Die, which starred Jet Li and Aaliyah with a supporting role for DMX, debuted in March 2000 with $18M on its way to $56M. A year later, DMX took a lead role opposite Steven Seagal in Exit Wounds which opened with $18.5M leading to a $51.8M final. Rated R, Cradle appealed to similar young male and urban audiences.
Streaking into second place was the fraternity comedy Old School which enjoyed a solid sophomore weekend grossing $14M. Off a slender 20% from its debut, the DreamWorks release has laughed up $37.4M in only ten days and could find itself reaching $75-85M.
After two weekends at number one, Fox's superhero flick Daredevil fell two spots to third place with $11.1M. Down 39%, the Ben Affleck film has grossed $84.2M in 17 days and looks headed for $110-120M.
Another former chart-topper, the romantic comedy How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days, followed in fourth with $10.3M in its fourth date. Off only 12%, the Paramount hit has banked $77.6M and is aiming for a $100-110M final gross.
The Miramax musical Chicago danced its way past the $100M mark on Saturday, its 66th day of release, and collected $7.9M for the weekend. The industry's leading Academy Awards nominee declined a scant 5% for the best hold in the top ten and put its cume at $104.9M. Chicago director Rob Marshall solidified his Oscar chances over the weekend winning top honors at the annual Directors Guild Awards.
Disney's The Jungle Book 2 slipped 20% to $7M and lifted its cume to $33.9M. The distributor's action-comedy Shanghai Knights took in $5M, off 23%, and put its total at $50.9M.
In its second weekend, Universal's Kevin Spacey drama The Life of David Gale fell 36% and grossed $4.5M for a ten-day sum of $13.6M. Fellow sophomore Gods & Generals dropped 37% to $2.9M giving the Warner Bros. war epic $8.9M in ten days. Rounding out the top ten for the second weekend in a row was Al Pacino's The Recruit with $2.7M raising the cume for the Buena Vista actioner to $48.1M.
Dropping out of the top ten in only its second weekend was the Kurt Russell flop Dark Blue with $2.4M. Falling 39%, the MGM release has captured just $7.6M in ten days and should finish with a pitiful $11-12M.
The top ten films grossed $82M which was up 6% from last year when We Were Soldiers opened at number one with $20.2M; and up 16% from 2001 when The Mexican debuted on top with $20.1M.
Compared to projections, Cradle 2 the Grave opened below my $20M forecast.
Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on whether Bringing Down the House or Tears of the Sun will have a bigger opening next weekend. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether Kate Hudson or Brittany Murphy has the more promising career ahead of her. Of 2,279 responses, the voting was equally split.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Tears of the Sun and Bringing Down the House both open.
Marketplace: Shop for videos, DVDs, music, books, and posters at discounted prices using search engines
|#||Title||Feb 28 - Mar 2||Feb 21 - 23||% Chg.||Theaters||Weeks||AVG||Cumulative||Distributor|
|1||Cradle 2 the Grave||$ 16,521,486||2,625||1||6,294||$ 16,521,486||Warner Bros.|
|4||How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days||10,252,364||11,590,320||-11.5||2,923||4||3,507||77,620,291||Paramount|
|6||The Jungle Book 2||6,984,002||8,709,662||-19.8||2,814||3||2,482||33,865,935||Buena Vista|
|7||Shanghai Knights||5,027,902||6,507,878||-22.7||2,515||4||1,999||50,931,526||Buena Vista|
|8||The Life of David Gale||4,537,395||7,117,225||-36.2||2,003||2||2,265||13,607,445||Universal|
|9||Gods and Generals||2,946,476||4,675,246||-37.0||1,533||2||1,922||8,932,117||Warner Bros.|
|10||The Recruit||2,728,478||3,414,899||-20.1||1,508||5||1,809||48,093,286||Buena Vista|
|13||Final Destination 2||1,892,344||2,994,241||-36.8||1,204||5||1,572||43,003,540||New Line|
|14||About Schmidt||1,860,510||1,700,614||9.4||1,007||12||1,848||57,979,861||New Line|
|15||The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers||1,618,139||1,925,167||-15.9||905||11||1,788||330,338,275||New Line|
|17||Kangaroo Jack||1,363,485||1,988,368||-31.4||1,545||7||883||63,609,564||Warner Bros.|
|18||The Quiet American||1,123,552||1,067,319||5.3||222||15||5,061||5,791,796||Miramax|
|19||Deliver Us From Eva||941,141||1,753,453||-46.3||537||4||1,753||16,069,535||Focus|
|20||Gangs of New York||696,852||674,069||3.4||725||11||961||74,621,519||Miramax|
|Top 5||$ 59,788,374||$ 64,086,813||-6.7|
|Top 10 vs. 2002||97,382,284||96,822,761||0.6|
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Data source: Exhibitor Relations, EDI. Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated : March 3, 2003 at 8:30PM EST