Weekend Box Office (April 4 - 6, 2003)

THIS WEEKEND A trio of new releases swiped the gold, silver, and bronze medals at the North American box office with each debuting with a respectable showing. The sniper thriller Phone Booth led the way followed by the teen pic What A Girl Wants and Vin Diesel's A Man Apart.

Fox became the first studio of the year to open three films at number one with the delayed actioner Phone Booth which debuted with $15M, according to final studio figures, to lead the competition. Playing in 2,481 theaters, the Joel Schumacher-directed film averaged a solid $6,054 per site and followed Just Married and Daredevil as top spot debuts for the distributor. Originally scheduled for a November 2002 launch, the $16M Phone Booth was bumped from the calendar due to last fall's sniper attacks in Virginia and Maryland which hit a little too close to home with the storyline. The rescheduling may have worked to Fox's advantage as star Colin Farrell has become a much more prominent leading man after his turns in The Recruit and Daredevil earlier this year. Moviegoers were not too thrilled with Phone Booth though, as those polled by CinemaScore.com gave the thriller a discouraging C+ grade.

Second place went to the Warner Bros. dramedy What A Girl Wants which grossed $11.4M in its opening weekend. The Amanda Bynes-starrer averaged a good $3,858 from a very wide 2,964 locations. Playing to a young female audience, the PG-rated film won praise from moviegoers earning a promising A grade from CinemaScore.com. The production budget is estimated to be just over $20M.

Vin Diesel premiered in third place with his latest action vehicle A Man Apart which bowed to $11M from 2,459 sites. The New Line release averaged a fine $4,481 per theater and opened much better than the actor's ensemble pic Knockaround Guys which debuted to just $5M last October. Diesel's active promotion of Man appeared to have helped the campaign. Ticket buyers were generally pleased giving the film a B+ grade through CinemaScore.com.

Chris Rock's Head of State fell from first place to fourth but only lost a moderate 37% bringing in $8.6M in its second weekend. After ten days, the $35M DreamWorks comedy has grossed $25.2M and looks headed towards roughly $50M.

Fellow black-meets-white comedy Bringing Down the House followed in fifth slipping 33% to $8.3M for a $111.1M cume. The Buena Vista blockbuster has become the highest-grossing film ever for veteran comic Steve Martin and ranks second largest for Queen Latifah after Chicago. Not a bad year for her royal highness.

Dropping a steep 49% in its second mission was the disaster thriller The Core which took in $6.2M. Paramount's $60M actioner has drilled up only $20.8M in ten days and is headed for $35-40M.

Fellow sophomore Basic starring John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson suffered the worst decline in the top ten tumbling 53% to $5.4M. Sony has grossed $20M in ten days and is set for a final cume of only $33-35M.

Oscar favorite Chicago grossed $5.1M, off only 29%, and pushed its cume to $152M. The Miramax musical has become one of the top-grossing pictures to never reach the number one spot joining last year's Academy Award champ A Beautiful Mind ($170.7M) and all-time leader My Big Fat Greek Wedding ($241.4M).

MGM's spy flick Agent Cody Banks fell 44% to $3.6M for a $40M total while the Disney toon Piglet's Big Movie dropped 43% to $2.8M and a $16.8M cume.

Debuting poorly outside of the top ten was Miramax's standup comedy concert film Dysfunktional Family starring Eddie Griffin with $1.1M from 602 theaters averaging an embarrassing $1,794.

Still the top-performing film in limited release, Fox Searchlight's Anglo-Indian comedy Bend It Like Beckham widened from 46 to 117 theaters and grossed $1.2M. The PG-13 film averaged a strong $10,001 in its fourth weekend and lifted its cume to $2.6M. Next weekend, Beckham adds 26 more cities and will expand into more than 200 playdates.

The distributor also got off to a good start with the debut of its Nick Nolte drama The Good Thief which opened in New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto with $131,580 from nine theaters. Averaging a sparkling $14,620 per venue, the R-rated film will widen to fifteen additional cities on Friday. Cume since its Wednesday bow is $152,729.

Three underachieving films fell from the top ten this weekend. The Warner Bros. thriller Dreamcatcher stumbled 60% and grossed $2.7M in its third frame. With $30.2M in the bank, the R-rated film looks to reach just $35-37M. Paramount's Tommy Lee Jones actioner The Hunted has collected $32.1M and is set for a not-so-impressive $33-35M final. The Miramax comedy View From the Top has flown to only $14.3M to date and should land with about $17M.

The top ten films grossed $77.5M which was down 13% from last year when Panic Room stayed at number one with $18.2M; but up 1% from 2001 when Spy Kids remained on top with $17.1M.

Compared to projections, Phone Booth opened better than my $9M forecast while What a Girl Wants debuted a few notched below my $15M prediction. A Man Apart premiered stronger than my $7M projection while Dysfunktional Family did not come close to my $5M forecast.

For a review of Phone Booth visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Anger Management opens across North America.

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

# Title Apr 4 - 6 Mar 28 - 30 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Phone Booth $ 15,021,088 2,481 1 $ 6,054 $ 15,021,088 Fox
2 What A Girl Wants 11,434,964 2,964 1 3,858 11,434,964 Warner Bros.
3 A Man Apart 11,019,224 2,459 1 4,481 11,019,224 New Line
4 Head of State 8,578,181 13,503,484 -36.5 2,155 2 3,981 25,160,246 DreamWorks
5 Bringing Down the House 8,316,696 12,481,803 -33.4 2,910 5 2,858 111,133,733 Buena Vista
6 The Core 6,181,635 12,053,131 -48.7 3,019 2 2,048 20,802,701 Paramount
7 Basic 5,375,721 11,511,960 -53.3 2,876 2 1,869 20,011,679 Sony
8 Chicago 5,103,406 7,210,721 -29.2 2,395 15 2,131 151,971,565 Miramax
9 Agent Cody Banks 3,626,002 6,419,524 -43.5 2,331 4 1,556 40,004,385 MGM
10 Piglet's Big Movie 2,802,493 4,931,308 -43.2 2,021 3 1,387 16,750,012 Buena Vista
11 Dreamcatcher 2,661,655 6,638,459 -59.9 2,360 3 1,128 30,182,426 Warner Bros.
12 The Pianist 2,087,334 2,456,117 -15.0 790 15 2,642 26,561,941 Focus
13 The Hunted 1,855,035 3,616,241 -48.7 1,685 4 1,101 32,137,611 Paramount
14 Old School 1,355,620 2,413,368 -43.8 925 7 1,466 72,975,435 DreamWorks
15 View From The Top 1,304,293 3,516,872 -62.9 1,579 3 826 14,336,119 Miramax
16 Bend It Like Beckham 1,170,139 655,741 78.4 117 4 10,001 2,559,087 Fox Searchlight
17 Dysfunktional Family 1,079,797 602 1 1,794 1,079,797 Miramax
18 Spirited Away 1,033,954 1,765,491 -41.4 714 29 1,448 8,879,467 Buena Vista
19 How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days 882,245 1,786,884 -50.6 827 9 1,067 102,415,092 Paramount
20 Tears of the Sun 705,691 2,006,425 -64.8 855 5 825 42,801,916 Sony
Top 5 $ 54,370,153 $ 56,761,099 -4.2
Top 10 77,459,410 81,883,503 -5.4
Top 20 91,595,173 96,649,906 -5.2
Top 10 vs. 2002 91,595,173 103,716,915 -11.7

Last Updated : April 7, 2003 at 8:30PM EST