Weekend Box Office (April 5 - 7, 2002)
by Gitesh Pandya
THIS WEEKEND Moviegoers once again made Jodie Foster's thriller Panic Room the top choice at the North American box office as the Sony release grossed $18.2M in its second weekend and fended off competition from a trio of new films. Playing in 3,053 theaters, the David Fincher-directed film averaged a sturdy $5,969 and raised its ten-day total to a solid $58.5M. Produced for $48M, Panic Room should find its way to $110-120M making it Foster's second highest-grossing film after The Silence of the Lambs.
Opening in second place was Fox's legal thriller High Crimes starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman with $14M. The Carl Franklin-directed film debuted in 2,717 theaters and averaged a good $5,155 per site. The two actors previously starred in 1997's kidnap thriller Kiss the Girls which opened with $13.2M and a $5,819 average. High Crimes debuted a bit lower than Freeman's last effort, Along Came A Spider, which opened with $16.7M this weekend a year ago. High Crimes had the tough task of competing side by side with Panic Room which is playing to the same adult audience.
Fox's blockbuster toon Ice Age continued to thaw at a slow pace slipping just 25% to $13.6M in its fourth weekend. After 24 days, the year's biggest film has grossed $140.7M.
Disney's baseball drama The Rookie pitched another strong outing collecting $11.7M in its second frame. The G-rated Dennis Quaid film slipped just 27% and raised its ten-day total to $34.9M. With its strong word-of-mouth, The Rookie should find its way to $70-80M domestically. New Line's Blade II took in $7.5M for fifth place, down 43%, and upped its cume to $67.4M.
Artisan reported a $7.3M opening weekend for its campus comedy National Lampoon's Van Wilder. The R-rated gross-out flick opened in 2,022 theaters and averaged a mediocre $3,612 per location. Young men were the core audience as 60% were male while most of the ticket buyers were between the ages of 18 and 34, according to Artisan distribution president Steve Rothenberg. With a low $5M production cost, Van Wilder should become a profitable title for the distributor.
Paramount's kid actioner Clockstoppers held up well in its second weekend grossing $7.3M, sliding just 28%. After ten days, the $26M pic has clocked $22.4M and seems headed for $45-50M territory.
Buena Vista's ensemble comedy Big Trouble bombed in its opening weekend grossing a pitiful $3.5M from 1,961 theaters for ninth place. Delayed from its September 2001 launch date, the Barry Sonnenfeld picture averaged a poor $1,808 per theater.
Universal rounded out the top ten with the rerelease of E.T. with $3.6M, down 42%, and Oscar champ A Beautiful Mind with $2.6M, off 33%. Totals stand at $30.7M and $165M.
Three films fell out of the top ten this weekend. Mel Gibson's Vietnam War saga We Were Soldiers dipped 32% to $2.5M raising its cume to $71.7M. The $70M Paramount release should find its way to $75-80M domestically. The Warner Bros. duo Death to Smoochy and Showtime lost more than half their audience from last weekend and have reached $7.3M and $36.3M respectively. The star-driven pictures have little life left in them and will go down as spring disappointments.
Magic Lamp's award-winning comedy American Chai platformed in just New York and Los Angeles and grossed an estimated $25,000 including $13,000 from the Angelika Film Center in Manhattan. Winner of the Audience Awards at both the Slamdance and Gen Art film festivals last year, American Chai will expand into additional markets in the weeks ahead.
Fox Searchlight's romantic comedy Kissing Jessica Stein expanded into 319 theaters (adding 188) across the country and grossed just under $1M for a mild $3,095 average. With $3.3M to date, the indie flick will not experience any more major expansions.
IFC Films' Mexican comedy Y Tu Mama Tambien widened its run to 180 theaters and popped into the Top 20 with $1.2M and a $6,581 average. Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding collected another $710,136 from 150 sites giving the USA Films release $5.3M and counting.
The top ten films grossed $89.3M which was up 16% from last year when Spy Kids remained at number one with $17.1M; and up 29% from 2000 when Rules of Engagement opened in the top spot with $15M.
Compared to projections, High Crimes opened exactly on target with my $14M forecast. Van Wilder and Big Trouble both debuted below my respective predictions of $11M and $6M.
Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on next weekend's releases. In last week's survey, readers were asked which Marvel Comics movie they are most looking forward to. Of 2,892 responses, 56% picked Spider-Man, 31% selected X-Men 2, and 14% voted for The Incredible Hulk.
For a review of Van Wilder visit The Chief Report.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Sweetest Thing, Changing Lanes, and Frailty all open.
Marketplace: Shop for videos, DVDs, music, books, and posters at discounted prices using search engines
|#||Title||Apr 5 - 7||Mar 29 - 31||% Chg.||Theaters||Weeks||AVG||Cumulative||Dist.|
|1||Panic Room||$ 18,224,157||$ 30,056,751||-39.4||3,053||2||$ 5,969||$ 58,525,734||Sony|
|4||The Rookie||11,703,657||16,021,684||-27.0||2,524||2||4,637||34,946,630||Buena Vista|
|5||Blade II||7,476,255||13,021,698||-42.6||2,561||3||2,919||67,448,831||New Line|
|6||National Lampoon's Van Wilder||7,302,913||2,022||1||3,612||7,302,913||Artisan|
|9||Big Trouble||3,545,204||1,961||1||1,808||3,545,204||Buena Vista|
|10||A Beautiful Mind||2,592,030||3,884,455||-33.3||1,436||16||1,805||164,988,611||Universal|
|11||We Were Soldiers||2,536,701||3,723,298||-31.9||1740||6||1,458||71,695,364||Paramount|
|12||The Lord of the Rings||1,740,099||2,382,794||-27.0||977||16||1,781||304,117,086||New Line|
|13||Death to Smoochy||1,612,420||4,266,463||-62.2||2,164||2||745||7,286,694||Warner Bros.|
|16||Monster's Ball||1,484,836||2,060,118||-27.9||714||15||2,080||25,210,748||Lions Gate|
|17||Y Tu Mama Tambien||1,184,663||366,248||223.5||180||4||6,581||2,973,562||IFC Films|
|18||The Time Machine||1,046,324||2,283,410||-54.2||931||5||1,124||54,758,133||DreamWorks|
|19||Kissing Jessica Stein||987,317||718,572||37.4||319||4||3,095||3,285,661||Fox Searchlight|
|20||Monsoon Wedding||710,136||793,698||-10.5||150||7||4,734||5,323,061||USA Films|
|Top 5||$ 64,974,689||$ 87,343,915||-25.6|
|Top 20 vs. 2001||103,716,915||90,152,084||15.0|
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 : April 8, 2002 at 2:15AM EDT