Weekend Box Office (March 30 - April 1, 2001)

THIS WEEKEND Thanks to a pair of pint-sized sleuths, the box office surged ahead of year-ago levels for the first time in a month as the family adventure film Spy Kids scored a powerful number one opening. The weekend's other new releases, the comedies Someone Like You and Tomcats, debuted in the top five with mixed results while last weekend's Oscar winners enjoyed boosts in attendance following their triumphant victories.

Miramax enjoyed its first number one opening in almost nine months with Spy Kids which grossed $26.5M over the Friday-to-Sunday period, according to final studio figures. Blasting off in a massive 3,104 theaters, the Robert Rodriguez-directed film averaged a stellar $8,552 per venue. Spy Kids tells the story of two children who must rescue their kidnapped parents (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino) who are former spies. The PG-rated family film generated the third best opening in March ever after 1997's Liar, Liar and last year's Erin Brockovich which debuted with $31.4M and $28.1M respectively. The film also boasts this year's second biggest debut after Hannibal's monster $58M opening in February.

Filled with special effects, Spy Kids was produced for about $35M - moderate by Hollywood standards, but high for Dimension Films and Miramax. A sequel has already been scheduled giving Miramax a new franchise that could certainly provide numerous revenue streams for years to come. Both reviews and exit polls were favorable so Spy Kids could hold up well throughout April when it will take on few direct competitors.

Premiering in the runnerup spot was the Ashley Judd-Greg Kinnear film Someone Like You with $10M from 2,345 locations. Averaging a decent $4,269 per theater, the Fox release finds Judd playing a talk show talent booker who studies animal behavior in order to better interpret male-female relationships. Hugh Jackman, Ellen Barkin, and Marisa Tomei also star.

Last weekend's number one film Heartbreakers, starring Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt, slipped 34% and collected $7.8M in its sophomore frame. With $23.1M in ten days, the $40M MGM title should gross around $45-50M domestically.

The raunchy sex comedy Tomcats debuted unimpressively in fourth place with $6.4M. The first release from Joe Roth's Revolution Studios was backed by an aggressive marketing campaign and a very wide 2,617-theater launch but averaged a disappointing $2,448. Tomcats stars Jerry O'Connell, Jake Busey, and Shannon Elizabeth and involves a young man's quest to marry his friend off in order to win a bet. Reviews were mostly negative and Saturday's sales dipped 4% from Friday's take. Sony reported that young males were the primary audience for Tomcats and that with an $11M negative cost, the R-rated comedy will eventually become profitable down the road.

Dropping 46% in its second weekend was the male-bonding tale The Brothers with $5.6M. Produced for only $6M and released through Sony's Screen Gems unit, the D.L. Hughley-Bill Bellamy picture has taken in a solid $18.1M in ten days and should reach roughly $30M by the end of its run.

Paramount's war picture Enemy at the Gates grossed $5.4M in its third weekend, off 35%, and lifted its cume to $34.2M. Steven Seagal's latest action thriller Exit Wounds placed seventh with $5.3M, down 46%, bringing the cume for the Warner Bros. title to $41.1M in 17 days.

Basking in the glow of its quadruple Oscar win, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon enjoyed a pleasant 5% bump in sales with $4.9M in its 17th weekend. The Sony Classics release has grossed an impressive $113.6M to date and the distributor believes that the martial arts epic can reach at least $125M domestically. Crouching Tiger is the highest-grossing foreign language movie in U.S. box office history almost doubling the $57.6M take of Italy's Life is Beautiful which was the previous recordholder.

The ensemble drama Traffic, which also won four Academy Awards including Best Director for Steven Soderbergh, followed in ninth with $3.8M. Off 3% from last weekend, the USA Films release has taken in $113.5M and should also cross the $125M mark by the end of its run. Traffic and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon have become the highest-grossing films ever for their respective distributors and are the only movies to spend every weekend this year in the top ten.

Rounding out the top ten was The Mexican starring Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts with $2.5M, down 45%, giving the DreamWorks title $62.2M in 31 days.

Opening with strength in twelfth place was Sony's The Tailor of Panama which averaged a sturdy $9,231 from 199 theaters for a weekend gross of $1.8M. Pierce Brosnan, Geoffrey Rush, and Jamie Lee Curtis star in the comedic thriller about a simple tailor caught up in an international crime ring. Sony reported that the audience for the $18M production was mostly over 25 and split evenly between genders. Tailor will expand into more theaters throughout April.

DreamWorks expanded Gladiator into 577 theaters in the top 20 markets to capitalize on its five Oscars including Best Picture. The Ridley Scott epic grossed $456,732 for an average of $792 per site and puts the cume at $187.3M.

Lions Gate opened Mexico's foreign language Oscar contender Amores Perro in a pair of Manhattan theaters and grossed $61,047 for a superb $30,524 average. The subtitled picture goes into the top 35 markets on April 13.

A trio of films fell out of the top ten over the weekend. With no Oscars to its credit, Miramax's Chocolat dipped 32% to $2.2M lifting its cume to $64.2M. The Lasse Hallstrom-directed film looks to finish with around $70-75M.

The Farrelly brothers-produced comedy Say It Isn't So fell apart in its second weekend tumbling 64% to $1M giving it a terrible $4.8M in ten days. Budgeted between $25-30M, the Fox release should conclude with a mere $6M. See Spot Run, the canine comedy from Warner Bros., has grossed $31.8M to date and looks to reach $35-37M.

Compared to projections, Spy Kids blasted past my $14M forecast and Someone Like You opened a few notches higher than my $7M prediction. Tomcats debuted below my $12M projection while Heartbreakers was close to my $7.5M forecast.

The top ten films grossed 78.3M which was up 9% from last year when Erin Brockovich stayed at number one for a third week with $13.8M; and up 8% from 1999 when The Matrix debuted in the top spot with $27.8M.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on different films winning the Oscars for Best Film and Best Director. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether The Mummy Returns would open better than The Mummy's $43.4M. Of 2,623 responses, 68% voted yes while 32% said no.

Read the Weekly Rewind column which goes back to March 1990. For a review of Spy Kids visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Along Came A Spider, Just Visiting, Blow, and Pokemon 3 all open.

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

# Title Mar. 30 - Apr. 1 Mar. 23 - 26 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Spy Kids $ 26,546,881 3,104 1 $ 8,552 $ 26,546,881 Miramax
2 Someone Like You 10,010,600 2,345 1 4,269 10,010,600 Fox
3 Heartbreakers 7,802,097 11,801,323 -33.9 2,751 2 2,836 23,139,589 MGM
4 Tomcats 6,406,076 2,617 1 2,448 6,406,076 Sony
5 The Brothers 5,603,339 10,302,846 -45.6 1,378 2 4,066 18,104,947 Sony
6 Enemy at the Gates 5,406,959 8,258,312 -34.5 1,706 3 3,169 34,249,523 Paramount
7 Exit Wounds 5,251,569 9,710,747 -45.9 2,610 3 2,012 41,098,695 Warner Bros.
8 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 4,863,011 4,613,172 5.4 1,906 17 2,551 113,572,015 Sony Classics
9 Traffic 3,832,815 3,948,118 -2.9 1,673 14 2,291 113,474,292 USA Films
10 The Mexican 2,527,703 4,623,578 -45.3 2,047 5 1,235 62,176,424 DreamWorks
11 Chocolat 2,243,533 3,308,107 -32.2 1,403 16 1,599 64,185,207 Miramax
12 The Tailor of Panama 1,837,068 199 1 9,231 1,837,068 Sony
13 Down to Earth 1,380,680 2,436,212 -43.3 1,340 7 1,030 62,171,824 Paramount
14 See Spot Run 1,355,437 3,605,570 -62.4 2,245 5 604 31,780,257 Warner Bros.
15 Hannibal 1,196,007 1,914,209 -37.5 1,397 8 856 162,035,198 MGM
16 O Brother, Where Art Thou? 1,139,451 1,310,111 -13.0 743 15 1,534 38,780,068 Buena Vista
17 15 Minutes 1,057,707 2,203,182 -52.0 936 4 1,130 23,546,040 New Line
18 Say It Isn't So 1,031,442 2,861,903 -64.0 1,972 2 523 4,847,667 Fox
19 Pollock 753,925 807,443 -6.6 280 7 2,693 6,073,239 Sony Classics
20 Memento 679,368 230,938 194.2 70 3 9,705 1,360,894 New Market
Top 5 $ 56,368,993 $ 44,696,806 26.1
Top 10 78,251,050 63,033,676 24.1
Top 20 90,925,668 76,394,063 19.0
Top 20 vs. 2000 90,925,668 83,263,372 9.2

Last Updated : April 3, 2001 at 12:45AM EST