Weekend Box Office (April 13 - 15, 2001)

THIS WEEKEND With the one-two punch of the established hit Spy Kids and newcomer Bridget Jones's Diary, Miramax led the weekend box office to its third consecutive year-to-year gain. Three other new releases found their way into the top ten with mixed results over the Easter frame.

The junior sleuths of Spy Kids remained in the number one spot for the third straight time with a weekend gross of $12.5M, according to final studio figures. Slipping only 27%, the Robert Rodriguez action picture has brought in an impressive $68.3M in only 17 days. With school children having no classes on Good Friday, the PG-rated film took advantage of its available audience and delivered a terrific third frame. Thanks to the staying power of Spy Kids (and the solid opening this weekend of Bridget Jones's Diary) Miramax has now surpassed its Disney parent in year-to-date grosses for 2001.

Retaining second place was the crime thriller Along Came A Spider which took in $11.5M, off a reasonable 31%. Starring Morgan Freeman and Monica Potter, the Paramount release has grossed $33.9M in ten days and could climb to $65-70M by the end of its run.

Freeman's Nurse Betty co-star Renee Zellweger debuted in third place in Bridget Jones's Diary which grossed $10.7M from 1,611 theaters. The Miramax film about a single woman in London obsessed with losing weight and finding a man averaged a plump $6,663 giving the R-rated picture the second-best average in the top ten. Based on the best-selling book by Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary also opened in the United Kingdom this weekend through its international partner Universal. The romantic comedy, which also stars Hugh Grant, is set to generate one of the biggest openings ever in that market with an estimated $10.4M over that country's four-day holiday weekend, according to a Universal spokesman.

Opening in fourth place was the David Spade comedy Joe Dirt which took in $8M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. The Sony release about a dim-witted man in search of the parents who abandoned him as a child entered 2,638 theaters and averaged a mild $3,039 per site. Since its Wednesday debut, the $16M film has grossed $10.7M in five days.

Slipping two spots was New Line's drug saga Blow with $8M in its second weekend. Starring Johnny Depp, the R-rated drama dropped 36% boosting its ten-day total to $25.9M and looks to reach $45-50M.

Delivering a solid opening in sixth place was Fox Searchlight's Kingdom Come, a story of a dysfunctional family uniting after the death of the father, which grossed $7.6M from only 1,111 theaters. The PG-rated film enjoyed the best average in the top ten earning $6,807 per venue. Kingdom Come, which stars Whoopi Goldberg, LL Cool J, and Jada Pinkett-Smith, was developed completely in-house by Fox Searchlight, according to distribution president Steve Gilula, and cost only $7M to produce. It was the widest opening ever for the company and should become a profitable venture. Opening Wednesday, Kingdom Come has taken in $9.7M in five days.

Opening poorly in seventh place was the live-action girl group flick Josie and the Pussycats with a meager $4.6M. Playing wide in 2,556 theaters, the Universal release averaged a dismal $1,785 per location. The studio backed the PG-13 film with an aggressive marketing campaign but failed to excite its target audience of teen girls very much. Co-produced by MGM, Josie and the Pussycats stars Rachael Leigh Cook, Tara Reid, and Rosario Dawson as members of an all-female rock group which skyrockets to fame and fortune and is loosely based on the 1970s cartoon series. Universal reported that the audience for the $22M picture was mostly females under 17 as expected. Josie has grossed an unpleasant $6.6M since its Wednesday debut.

In its second weekend, Pokemon 3 tumbled 67% to $2.7M giving the Warner Bros. release $13M in ten days. Rounding out the top ten were Paramount's war film Enemy at the Gates with $2.7M and a $43.2M cume and the Ashley Judd romance Someone Like You with $2.6M for the weekend and $22.3M overall.

Four films left the top ten over the weekend. MGM's comedy Heartbreakers took in $2.6M in its fourth try and lifted its cume to $34.4M. The $40M picture should finish with a domestic gross roughly the same as its budget.

Soaring higher than everyone's expectations, Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon climbed to a lofty $120.5M and should conclude with roughly $125M domestically. Starring Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, and Zhang Ziyi, the $15M film spent 14 consecutive weeks in the top ten - more than any other film this year. The Sony Classics release also won four Academy Awards and stands as the highest-grossing foreign language film in U.S. history.

Sony's March releases The Brothers and Tomcats fell sharply and collected $1.4M and $906,802 respectively. Budgeted at only $6M, The Brothers has grossed $24.7M to date and should end with a profitable $27-29M. Tomcats, the first release from Revolution Studios, cost $11M to produce and has grossed $12.9M thus far. A final tally of about $15M should result.

Compared to projections, both Bridget Jones's Diary and Kingdom Come opened a couple of notches higher than my respective forecasts of $8M and $5M. Joe Dirt was close to my $10M prediction but Josie and the Pussycats debuted well below my bullish projection of $16M.

The top ten films grossed $70.9M which was up 14% from last year when Rules of Engagement remained at number one with $10.9M; and up 7% from 1999 when Life opened in the top spot with $20.4M.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on Tom Green's new comedy Freddy Got Fingered. In last week's survey, readers were asked if they thought there would be strikes by SAG and the WGA. Of 2,043 responses, 60% voted Yes, 19% thought No, and 21% said they Didn't Care.

Read the Weekly Rewind column which looks back at April 1995. For a review of Joe Dirt visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Wednesday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Freddy Got Fingered and Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles both open.

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

# Title Apr. 13 - 15 Apr. 6 - 8 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Spy Kids $ 12,501,512 $ 17,079,114 -26.8 3,172 3 $3,941 $ 68,325,957 Miramax
2 Along Came A Spider 11,527,443 16,712,407 -31.0 2,530 2 4,556 33,901,508 Paramount
3 Bridget Jones's Diary 10,733,933 1,611 1 6,663 10,733,933 Miramax
4 Joe Dirt 8,016,008 2,638 1 3,039 10,718,014 Sony
5 Blow 8,013,188 12,443,461 -35.6 2,249 2 3,563 25,913,942 New Line
6 Kingdom Come 7,562,284 1,111 1 6,807 9,714,715 Fox Searchlight
7 Josie and the Pussycats 4,562,455 2,556 1 1,785 6,574,660 Universal
8 Pokemon 3 2,707,680 8,240,752 -67.1 2,675 2 1,012 12,953,396 Warner Bros.
9 Enemy at the Gates 2,665,252 3,353,741 -20.5 1,694 5 1,573 43,237,128 Paramount
10 Someone Like You 2,602,960 5,347,702 -51.3 2,210 3 1,178 22,278,530 Fox
11 Heartbreakers 2,600,007 5,009,640 -48.1 2,477 4 1,050 34,416,068 MGM
12 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 1,884,519 2,820,308 -33.2 1,244 19 1,515 120,507,372 Sony Classics
13 Exit Wounds 1,492,290 2,677,815 -44.3 1,552 5 962 47,815,975 Warner Bros.
14 Traffic 1,374,555 2,134,341 -35.6 934 16 1,472 119,008,346 USA Films
15 The Brothers 1,354,527 3,006,620 -54.9 868 4 1,561 24,650,510 Sony
16 Memento 926,916 842,939 10.0 173 5 5,358 3,687,239 New Market
17 Tomcats 906,802 2,811,509 -67.7 1,711 3 530 12,853,541 Sony
18 Amores Perro 878,013 54,661 158 3 5,557 1,056,652 Lions Gate
19 Just Visiting 877,681 2,272,489 -61.4 1,590 2 552 3,950,440 Buena Vista
20 The Tailor of Panama 875,740 1,133,352 -22.7 225 3 3,892 4,844,058 Sony
Top 5 $ 50,792,084 $ 59,823,436 -15.1
Top 10 70,892,715 76,825,254 -7.7
Top 20 84,063,765 90,152,084 -6.8
Top 20 vs. 2000 84,063,765 76,614,723 9.7

Last Updated : April 16, 2001 at 8:30PM EST