Weekend Box Office (April 6 - 8, 2001)

THIS WEEKEND The family adventure film Spy Kids fended off competition from four new releases to top the North American box office for the second weekend in a row. The crime thriller Along Came a Spider and the drug drama Blow both opened impressively, the animated sequel Pokemon 3 enjoyed a moderate bow, and the time-travel comedy Just Visiting was dead on arrival. Overall receipts once again outperformed sales from a year ago.

Miramax's latest franchise feature Spy Kids collected $17.1M in its sophomore frame to remain in the number one spot, according to final studio figures. The Robert Rodriguez-directed picture slipped a reasonable 36% and has captured $48.3M in only ten days. At its current pace, the $35M-budgeted film could reach the $100M mark domestically.

Morgan Freeman enjoyed a strong second-place opening for his kidnapping thriller Along Came A Spider which grossed $16.7M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Paramount launched the R-rated picture in 2,530 locations and averaged a strong $6,606 per theater. The opening for Spider surpassed the $13.2M bow of 1997's Kiss the Girls which first introduced moviegoers to Freeman as detective Alex Cross. That film, which also starred Ashley Judd, went on to gross $60.5M. Spider, which co-stars Monica Potter, looks to go beyond that level.

New Line's edgy drama Blow, starring Johnny Depp, premiered in third place with $12.4M from 2,249 theaters. Averaging a solid $5,533, the Ted Demme-helmed film finds Depp playing out the rise and fall of cocaine kingpin George Jung. Blow's 36% Friday-to-Saturday increase was the best among the four new titles.

Pokemon 3, the latest entry in the series of feature films based on the popular trading card game, opened in fourth with $8.2M. The Warner Bros. release averaged a shaky $3,080 from 2,675 theaters and continued the franchise's trend of diminishing grosses. 1999's first Pokemon debuted with $31M while last summer's sequel opened with $19.6M.

Ashley Judd's Someone Like You plunged 47% in its second weekend to $5.4M. The Fox release has collected $17.8M in ten days and should finish its run with $25-30M. Heartbreakers starring Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt dropped 36% to $5M for the weekend boosting the cume for the MGM comedy to $30M in 17 days.

Paramount's sniper thriller Enemy at the Gates followed in seventh with $3.4M, off 38%, for a total of $39.2M to date. Falling a steep 46% was Sony's The Brothers with $3M in its third weekend for a $22.5M sum.

Suffering a 42% decline, the top ten's eldest statesman, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, placed ninth with $2.8M. In its 14th consecutive weekend in the top ten, the Oscar-winning epic shed 278 theaters but still managed to lift its cume to a dazzling $117.5M. Sony's Tomcats tumbled 56% in its second weekend to $2.8M giving the R-rated sex comedy an unimpressive $11M in ten days.

Debuting poorly outside of the top ten was Buena Vista's Just Visiting, starring Jean Reno, Christina Applegate, and Tara Reid, with $2.3M. The comedy about a 12th Century Count and his servant transported to modern-day Chicago played in 1,590 venues and averaged a miserable $1,429 per theater.

Three films fell out of the top ten over the weekend. Steven Seagal's comeback vehicle Exit Wounds grossed $2.7M in its fourth weekend raising its total to $45.4M. The Warner Bros. action picture opened powerfully but has suffered declines of 45-50% each weekend. The $40M cop film should end up with around $50M domestically and thrive on home video.

Traffic, Steven Soderbergh's narcotics trade saga which won four Academy Awards, has taken in $116.8M to date and will conclude its run with $120-125M. The USA Films release is the highest-grossing picture in the company's history. The Mexican, starring Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, has collected $64.1M thus far for DreamWorks. The $40M film looks to reach $65-70M making it the highest-grossing Brad Pitt picture in over five years, but the lowest-grossing Julia Roberts film in over four years.

Compared to projections, Along Came A Spider and Blow opened a just a little stronger than my respective forecasts of $15M and $11M. Pokemon 3 was very close to my $10M prediction while Just Visiting debuted below my $6M projection.

The top ten films grossed $76.8M which was up 11% from last year when Rules of Engagement opened at number one with $15M; and up 18% from 1999 when The Matrix remained in the top spot with $22.6M.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on the possible SAG and WGA strikes. In last week's survey, readers were asked if it was right for different films to win the Oscars for Best Film and Best Director. Of 1,879 responses, 83% voted yes while 17% said no.

Read the Weekly Rewind column which reports on the biggest April openings. For a review of Along Came a Spider visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Josie and the Pussycats, Bridget Jones's Diary, Joe Dirt, and Kingdom Come all debut.

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

# Title Apr. 6 - 8 Mar. 30 - Apr. 1 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Spy Kids $ 17,079,114 $ 26,546,881 -35.7 3,133 2 $5,451 $ 48,257,162 Miramax
2 Along Came A Spider 16,712,407 2,530 1 6,606 16,712,407 Paramount
3 Blow 12,443,461 2,249 1 5,533 12,443,461 New Line
4 Pokemon 3 8,240,752 2,675 1 3,081 8,240,752 Warner Bros.
5 Someone Like You 5,347,702 10,010,600 -46.6 2,349 2 2,277 17,776,720 Fox
6 Heartbreakers 5,009,640 7,802,097 -35.8 2,708 3 1,850 29,979,511 MGM
7 Enemy at the Gates 3,353,741 5,406,959 -38.0 1,724 4 1,945 39,214,411 Paramount
8 The Brothers 3,006,620 5,603,339 -46.3 1,307 3 2,300 22,488,990 Sony
9 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2,820,308 4,863,011 -42.0 1,628 18 1,732 117,525,155 Sony Classics
10 Tomcats 2,811,509 6,406,076 -56.1 2,617 2 1,074 10,953,131 Sony
11 Exit Wounds 2,677,815 5,251,569 -49.0 2,260 4 1,185 45,415,821 Warner Bros.
12 Just Visiting 2,272,489 1,590 1 1,429 2,272,489 Buena Vista
13 Traffic 2,134,341 3,832,815 -44.3 1,339 15 1,594 116,755,319 USA Films
14 Chocolat 1,217,327 2,243,533 -45.7 956 17 1,273 66,082,420 Miramax
15 The Tailor of Panama 1,133,352 1,837,068 -38.3 225 2 5,037 3,527,412 Sony
16 The Mexican 1,125,148 2,527,703 -55.5 1,328 6 847 64,101,808 DreamWorks
17 Memento 842,939 679,368 24.1 120 4 7,024 2,411,385 New Market
18 O Brother, Where Art Thou? 796,631 1,139,451 -30.1 685 16 1,163 39,923,302 Buena Vista
19 Down to Earth 622,356 1,380,680 -54.9 755 8 824 63,095,559 Paramount
20 Hannibal 504,432 1,196,007 -57.8 800 9 631 162,916,511 MGM
Top 5 $ 59,823,436 $ 56,368,993 6.1
Top 10 76,825,254 78,251,050 -1.8
Top 20 90,152,084 90,925,668 -0.9
Top 20 vs. 2000 90,152,084 79,979,597 12.7

Last Updated : April 9, 2001 at 10:30PM EST