Weekend Box Office (April 12 - 14, 2002)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Moviegoers lined up to see Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson duke it out in Paramount's action thriller Changing Lanes which opened at number one at the box office with $17.1M, according to final figures. Playing in 2,613 theaters, the R-rated picture averaged a solid $6,555 and appealed mostly to a mature adult audience. The R-rated film's strong debut was especially impressive since it drew from the same audience already targeted by other adult-skewing thrillers like Panic Room and High Crimes. With positive reviews in its corner, Changing Lanes drew evenly between men and women while 70% of the audience was over the age of 25, according to studio exit polls. Ticket buyers surveyed by CinemaScore gave the revenge tale a B- grade.

Affleck and Jackson will battle it out once again next month, but for different studios. Jackson will reprise his role of Mace Windu in Fox's Star Wars Episode II which launches on May 16 while Affleck takes over the role of Jack Ryan in Paramount's The Sum of All Fears which opens just two weeks later.

Following a two-week reign at number one, Sony's suspense hit Panic Room slipped to second place with $10.6M. The Jodie Foster thriller declined 42% and boosted its cume to $73.4M after 17 days.

Cameron Diaz entered the box office charts at number three with her new romantic comedy The Sweetest Thing which opened with $9.4M. The R-rated Sony release played in 2,670 theaters and averaged a mediocre $3,532 per location. Co-starring Christina Applegate and Selma Blair, the $43M picture was plagued by bad reviews and earned only a C+ grade from CinemaScore audiences. Young adult women were the core audience for The Sweetest Thing.

Fox's blockbuster animated comedy Ice Age dropped 37% to fourth place with $8.6M. The PG-rated toon has amassed $151.6M to date. The baseball drama The Rookie enjoyed the smallest decline in the top ten dipping just 31% to $8.1M in its third weekend. Disney's sleeper hit has grossed $45.3M thus far.

The Ashley Judd-Morgan Freeman legal thriller High Crimes crumbled 47% in its second weekend and took in $7.5M. The Fox release has collected $25M in ten days and should reach about $45M.

Seventh place was claimed by Paramount's Clockstoppers with $4.7M, off 36%, putting its 17-day cume at $28M. Following close behind in eighth was New Line's Blade II with $4.3M, down 42%, lifting its 24-day total to $73.9M. Over the weekend, the vampire actioner became the highest-grossing film for Wesley Snipes surpassing the $72M of 1992's White Men Can't Jump.

Lions Gate opened the serial killer drama Fraility in 1,497 theaters and grossed $4.2M for a not-so-menacing $2,811 average. Directed by Bill Paxton, the R-rated picture faced stiff competition for adult audiences.

National Lampoon's Van Wilder dropped 44% to tenth place with $4.1M in its sophomore frame and pushed its ten-day tally to $13.7M. Budgeted at just $5M, the Artisan raunchfest looks to graduate with about $20M.

Three films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Buena Vista's ensemble comedy Big Trouble tumbled 54% in its second weekend to $1.6M. The Barry Sonnenfeld film has grossed a puny $6M in ten days and will finish with less than $9M.

For the first time in six months, Universal failed to place a movie in the top ten. The studio collected a $1.5M weekend gross for both the rerelease of E.T. and for Oscar magnet A Beautiful Mind. E.T. has taken in $32.9M in 24 days and has boosted its lifetime take to $432.7M allowing it inch up to the number three spot on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters passing Star Wars Episode I's $431.1M. A Beautiful Mind, a co-production with DreamWorks, has brought in $167.1M to date and should end with just over $170M.

The top ten films grossed $78.6M which was up 11% from last year when Spy Kids remained at number one for the third straight weekend with $12.5M; and up 26% from 2000 when Rules of Engagement stayed in the top spot with $10.9M.

Compared to projections, Changing Lanes opened better than my $12M forecast while The Sweetest Thing debuted below my $14M prediction. Frailty was close to my $5M projection.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on The Scorpion King. In last week's survey, readers were asked which of this weekend's new releases would have the biggest opening. Of 2,368 responses, 50% correctly picked Changing Lanes, 41% selected The Sweetest Thing, and only 9% said Frailty.

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 Scorpion King and Murder By Numbers both premiere.

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

# Title Apr 12 - 14 Apr 5 - 7 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Changing Lanes $ 17,128,062 2,613 1 $ 6,555 $ 17,128,062 Paramount
2 Panic Room 10,618,796 18,224,157 -41.7 3,119 3 3,405 73,422,333 Sony
3 The Sweetest Thing 9,430,667 2,670 1 3,532 9,430,667 Sony
4 Ice Age 8,577,478 13,565,070 -36.8 3,011 5 2,849 151,625,634 Fox
5 The Rookie 8,076,763 11,703,657 -31.0 2,520 3 3,205 45,282,993 Buena Vista
6 High Crimes 7,485,414 14,005,550 -46.6 2,747 2 2,725 25,020,697 Fox
7 Clockstoppers 4,652,393 7,284,214 -36.1 2,512 3 1,852 28,044,474 Paramount
8 Blade II 4,315,697 7,476,255 -42.3 2,174 4 1,985 73,873,818 New Line
9 Frailty 4,208,655 1,497 1 2,811 4,208,655 Lions Gate
10 National Lampoon's Van Wilder 4,110,802 7,302,913 -43.7 2,104 2 1,954 13,700,813 Artisan
11 Big Trouble 1,647,057 3,545,204 -53.5 1,961 2 840 5,982,977 Buena Vista
12 E.T. (rerelease) 1,538,825 3,568,325 -56.9 1,603 4 960 32,931,515 Universal
13 A Beautiful Mind 1,457,335 2,592,030 -43.8 1,100 17 1,325 167,135,186 Universal
14 We Were Soldiers 1,428,885 2,536,701 -43.7 1,112 7 1,285 73,869,164 Paramount
15 The Lord of the Rings 1,219,369 1,740,099 -29.9 868 17 1,405 305,819,565 New Line
16 Monster's Ball 1,040,241 1,484,836 -29.9 594 16 1,751 26,722,813 Lions Gate
17 Y Tu Mama Tambien 1,016,570 1,184,663 -14.2 193 5 5,267 4,465,073 IFC Films
18 Resident Evil 751,594 1,605,562 -53.2 586 5 1,283 38,675,359 Sony
19 The Other Side of Heaven 688,762 30,164 306 18 2,251 2,716,662 Excel
20 Kissing Jessica Stein 685,899 987,317 -30.5 306 5 2,242 4,288,098 Fox Searchlight
Top 5 $ 53,831,766 $ 64,974,689 -17.1
Top 10 78,604,727 89,267,375 -11.9
Top 20 90,079,264 103,716,915 -13.1
Top 20 vs. 2001 90,079,264 84,063,765 7.2

Last Updated : April 15, 2002 at 10:15PM EDT