Weekend Box Office (April 18 - 20, 2003)

THIS WEEKEND Despite an onslaught of new films bowing over the Easter-Passover holiday frame, the Adam Sandler-Jack Nicholson comedy Anger Management still ruled the North American box office for the second straight time. Disney's family film Holes and the Warner Bros. comedy Malibu's Most Wanted both enjoyed solid debuts, however MGM's actioner Bulletproof Monk disappointed. In limited release bows, Warners saw a sizzling start for its mocumentary A Mighty Wind while Fox witnessed a moderate result for its romantic comedy Chasing Papi. Overall, most holdovers in the top ten generated strong holds over the holiday frame.

Sony celebrated its first back-to-back showing at number one since last August with Anger Management which dropped a respectable 41% from last weekend grossing $25M in its sophomore frame, according to final figures. The PG-13 pic averaged a strong $7,004 from 3,570 theaters and lifted its cume to a mighty $80M after just ten days. Budgeted at $75M, Anger Management looks to find its way to $150-160M domestically. Sony last won the box office crown over two consecutive weekends with last summer's spy flick XXX which like Anger was produced by Revolution Studios.

Opening with considerable strength in second place was the Disney drama Holes which exceeded industry expectations to score $16.3M. Digging deep into 2,331 theaters, the PG-rated film posted the best average in the top ten with $6,993 per site. Based on the award-winning book by Louis Sacher, the film about juveniles held in detention camp tapped into a pre-existing audience and took advantage of a holiday weekend devoid of family fare. The road ahead looks promising for Holes as evidenced by the impressive average and the remarkable A grade given by moviegoers polled by CinemaScore.com.

Warner Bros. saw a solid third-place debut for its white rapper comedy Malibu's Most Wanted which grossed $12.6M from 2,503 cribs. The Jamie Kennedy flick averaged an encouraging $5,041 per theater and appealed mostly to teens and young adults. Rated PG-13, the $15M production earned a decent B grade from CinemaScore.com.

MGM continued its year-long slump with the disappointing opening of the buddy action film Bulletproof Monk which bowed to $8.7M. Playing in an extremely wide 2,955 theaters, the Chow Yun-Fat-Seann William Scott pic averaged a weak $2,928 per site and collected $11.7M since its Wednesday launch. With Anger Management and Malibu's Most Wanted both doing well, the core young-male demographic was difficult for Monk to reach this weekend. After releasing clunkers like A Guy Thing and Dark Blue, MGM has sunk to ninth place among distributors in market share this year.

Fox's sniper thriller Phone Booth dropped only 26% to $5.7M and raised its 17-day total to $35.1M. Slipping 28% to sixth place was the Warner Bros. teen tale What A Girl Wants with $4.5M for a $27.2M cume.

The year's highest-grossing release, Bringing Down the House, slid 27% to $3.3M giving the Buena Vista blockbuster $122.7M to date. A Man Apart starring Vin Diesel fell 37% to $2.8M for a cume of $22.8M.

Lions Gate expanded its horror flick House of 1000 Corpses from 595 to 847 locations and grossed $2.5M for the frame. While the weekend take was off by 27%, the Rob Zombie pic watched its per-theater average drop by a hefty 49%. Cume to date is $7.1M and a $12-14M final seems likely.

Oscar champ Chicago took tenth place and collected $2.5M, down 22%, lifting its sum to $160.7M making it the top grossing title ever for Miramax surpassing Scary Movie's $157M from 2000. Chicago has spent every single weekend of this year in the top ten.

Blowing into limited release with a powerful gust was the new Christopher Guest mockumentary A Mighty Wind which grossed $2.1M from only 133 theaters for a spectacular $15,881 average. The Warner Bros. release, which also stars Eugene Levy, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer, generated the best per-theater average among major titles and has taken in $2.7M since its Wednesday bow. The well-reviewed PG-13 film reached out to the loyal audience of fans of Guest's previous films Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show and hopes to once again expand its fan base.

Grossing $2.4M from a much higher number of theaters was the Latino romantic comedy Chasing Papi which bowed in 585 venues. Averaging just $4,110, the PG-rated Fox title about three women who seek revenge on the same man brought in $3.2M since its opening on Wednesday.

In its second weekend, the Asian-American high school pic Better Luck Tomorrow expanded from 13 to 42 theaters and saw its weekend take climb 35% to $487,692. The Paramount Classics title averaged a strong $11,611 per venue and boosted its cume to $983,259 after ten days of limited release. The distributor reported that the non-Asian-American portion of the audience grew in the sophomore frame as the R-rated Sundance pic bowed in such markets as Boston, Houston, Toronto, and Washington D.C. A much wider expansion is planned for this Friday when Better Luck Tomorrow enters 100 markets with roughly 400 prints.

Continuing its successful limited-release run in its sixth match, Fox Searchlight's Bend it Like Beckham widened from 216 to 392 playdates and grossed $2M - an increase of 42% from last weekend. The award-winning international hit averaged $4,984 and lifted its cume to $6.8M.

Three films fell from the top ten in their fourth weekend of release. The Chris Rock comedy Head of State dropped 44% to $2.2M boosting its total to $34.6M. The $35M DreamWorks release should finish with about $40M. Paramount's $60M disaster thriller The Core plunged 45% to $1.8M raising its sum to $28.8M. Expect a disappointing $32-34M final for the pricey pic. Sony's John Travolta-Samuel L. Jackson thriller Basic fell 47% to $1.1M for a $25.6M cume. The military pic should retire with only around $28M.

The top ten films grossed $83.9M which was down 6% from last year when The Scorpion King opened at number one with $36.1M; but up 31% from 2001 when Bridget Jones's Diary inched into the top spot with $10.2M.

Compared to projections, Holes and Malibu's Most Wanted both debuted better than my respective forecasts of $10M and $9M while Bulletproof Monk and Chasing Papi both opened below my predictions of $13M and $5M.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on moviegoing influences. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether The Matrix Reloaded or X-Men 2 would be the bigger May blockbuster. Of 2,981 responses, 73% chose Matrix while 27% picked X2.

For a review of Bulletproof Monk visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Identity, Confidence, The Real Cancun, and It Runs in the Family all open.

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

# Title Apr 18 - 20 Apr 11 - 13 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Anger Management $ 25,005,588 $ 42,220,847 -40.8 3,570 2 $ 7,004 $ 80,040,181 Sony
2 Holes 16,300,155 2,331 1 6,993 16,300,155 Buena Vista
3 Malibu's Most Wanted 12,618,159 2,503 1 5,041 12,618,159 Warner Bros.
4 Bulletproof Monk 8,653,542 2,955 1 2,928 11,749,241 MGM
5 Phone Booth 5,674,565 7,618,519 -25.5 2,448 3 2,318 35,120,052 Fox
6 What A Girl Wants 4,503,277 6,287,478 -28.4 2,930 3 1,537 27,228,224 Warner Bros.
7 Bringing Down the House 3,280,980 4,502,225 -27.1 2,284 7 1,437 122,677,348 Buena Vista
8 A Man Apart 2,804,432 4,457,668 -37.1 2,174 3 1,290 22,763,440 New Line
9 House of 1000 Corpses 2,522,026 3,460,666 -27.1 847 2 2,978 7,124,063 Lions Gate
10 Chicago 2,501,139 3,207,797 -22.0 1,711 17 1,462 160,741,486 Miramax
11 Chasing Papi 2,404,557 585 1 4,110 3,159,602 Fox
12 Head of State 2,214,582 3,982,035 -44.4 1,844 4 1,201 34,607,576 DreamWorks
13 A Mighty Wind 2,112,140 133 1 15,881 2,730,735 Warner Bros.
14 Bend It Like Beckham 1,953,572 1,375,767 42.0 392 6 4,984 6,796,885 Fox Searchlight
15 The Core 1,820,231 3,306,820 -45.0 2,021 4 901 28,781,441 Paramount
16 Ghosts of the Abyss (Lg. Scr) 1,240,099 1,408,474 -12.0 97 2 12,785 3,455,389 Buena Vista
17 Basic 1,112,185 2,103,440 -47.1 1,067 4 1,042 25,643,955 Sony
18 The Pianist 1,095,495 1,346,838 -18.7 739 17 1,482 30,213,790 Focus
19 Agent Cody Banks 985,134 1,688,886 -41.7 1,480 6 666 44,639,974 MGM
20 Piglet's Big Movie 959,580 1,420,979 -32.5 1,373 5 699 20,685,800 Buena Vista
Top 5 $ 68,252,009 $ 65,086,737 4.9
Top 10 83,863,863 81,147,495 3.3
Top 20 99,761,438 91,555,901 9.0
Top 20 vs. 2002 99,761,438 99,457,281 0.3

Last Updated : April 21, 2003 at 8:45PM EDT