Weekend Box Office (April 27 - 29, 2001)

THIS WEEKEND Sylvester Stallone made a long-delayed return to the number one spot with the auto racing picture Driven during an otherwise sluggish weekend at North American theaters. Three other new releases performed poorly in their debuts helping the overall marketplace drop significantly versus last year's levels.

Taking over pole position in its opening weekend was the Warner Bros. action vehicle Driven with $12.17M from 2,905 theaters according to final figures, down almost $1M from original estimates. Averaging a decent $4,191, the Renny Harlin picture features Stallone as a washed up racing pro called upon to help a young maverick driver become a champion. The studio's distribution chief Dan Fellman noted "exit polls were very, very good and race car fans were blown away by the movie." Saturday sales were mostly even with Friday's gross indicating that Driven may not have enough fuel for a prolonged run. For Stallone, who also wrote the screenplay, the Franchise Films production represents the actor's first number one movie since Cop Land which debuted on top in August 1997.

Miramax and Paramount rounded out the top five with each distributor contributing two titles. Miramax's hit comedy Bridget Jones's Diary slipped just 26% (thanks to 311 additional theaters) to $7.5M for second place while the family film Spy Kids placed third with $5.78M. Their respective totals to date are $36.3M and $93.7M.

Paramount grabbed fourth place with its Morgan Freeman thriller Along Came A Spider which grossed $5.6M and placed its Paul Hogan comedy Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles in the number five position with $4.66M, dropping 40% in its second weekend. Total grosses stand at $54.7M and $13.9M, respectively.

New Line Cinema occupied the next two slots with a pair of very different films. The drug drama Blow declined 43% to $3.35M pushing the cume for the Johnny Depp saga to a solid $40.5M. However, the company's much-delayed Warren Beatty starrer Town & Country bombed in its debut collecting a weak $3.03M in ticket sales. Opening wide in 2,222 theaters, the R-rated romantic comedy about marital infidelity averaged an embarrasing $1,364 per site. Negative press revolving around the numerous script changes, production delays, and ballooning budget (reportedly reaching $80M) may have helped keep moviegoers away from the wreckage.

Sony's Screen Gems unit opened its vampire horror film The Forsaken but was met with indifference grossing just $3.02M. Landing in 1,514 theaters, the R-rated thriller with mostly unknown stars averaged a poor $1,995. The studio's David Spade comedy Joe Dirt fell 49% to $2.71M putting it in ninth with a total of $22.7M.

Rounding out the top ten was Fox's Tom Green comedy Freddy Got Fingered which suffered one of the worst second weekend declines of the year crashing 65% to $2.5M. With a mere $11.3M in ten days, the $15M film should limp to a $13-15M final with virtually no chance for overseas success.

The weekend's fourth new release, the comedy caper One Night at McCool's, flopped in its debut grossing $2.5M. Starring Liv Tyler, Matt Dillon, Paul Reiser, John Goodman, and Michael Douglas (who also produced), the USA films release averaged only $1,386 from 1,818 joints.

In limited release, Lions Gate saw an encouraging start to its Merchant Ivory picture The Golden Bowl which grossed $90,170 from five theaters for a solid $18,030 average. Opening exclusively in New York and Los Angeles, the Uma Thurman film will expand into the top 35 markets on May 18.

Three pictures left the top ten over the weekend. Dropping 49% to $2.1M was Kingdom Come which has taken in $18.9M thus far. Fox Searchlight's inexpensive $7M picture should end off its profitable run with roughly $23M. The heavily-promoted remake Josie and the Pussycats tumbled 59% in its third frame and has rocked its way to only $13.2M to date. Produced for $22M, the Universal release should reach a disappointing $15M.

Paramount enjoyed a solid six-week tour of duty in the top ten for its war film Enemy at the Gates. The Jude Law-Joseph Fiennes picture dropped 47% to $1.1M pushing its cume to $48.2M. The $70M action drama looks likely to end with just under $55M domestically.

Compared to projections, Driven opened very close to my $13M forecast. However, Town & Country, One Night at McCool's, and The Forsaken all debuted below my projections of $7M, $7M, and $5M respectively.

The top ten films grossed $50.4M which was down 21% from last year when U-571 remained in the top spot with $12.2M; but up 3.5% from 1999 when Entrapment opened at number one with $20.1M.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on the opening of The Mummy Returns. In last week's survey, readers were asked which of four May releases they wanted to see most. Of 1,418 responses, 47% selected Pearl Harbor, 39% picked The Mummy Returns, 13% said Shrek, and 2% voted for A Knight's Tale.

Read the Weekly Rewind column which reports on the biggest openings in May. For a review of Driven visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Monday for final studio figures, and again on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Mummy Returns is unleashed.

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

# Title Apr. 27 - 29 Apr. 20 - 22 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Driven $ 12,174,504 2,905 1 $ 4,191 $ 12,174,504 Warner Bros.
2 Bridget Jones's Diary 7,528,349 10,184,136 -26.1 2,532 3 2,973 36,263,550 Miramax
3 Spy Kids 5,784,764 10,069,514 -42.6 3,105 5 1,863 93,677,074 Miramax
4 Along Came a Spider 5,603,083 8,753,521 -36.0 2,573 4 2,178 54,689,149 Paramount
5 Crocodile Dundee in LA 4,659,727 7,714,362 -39.6 2,124 2 2,194 13,907,287 Paramount
6 Blow 3,354,646 5,901,682 -43.2 1,713 4 1,958 40,457,088 New Line
7 Town and Country 3,029,858 2,222 1 1,364 3,029,858 New Line
8 The Forsaken 3,020,159 1,514 1 1,995 3,020,159 Sony
9 Joe Dirt 2,708,925 5,310,836 -49.0 2,484 3 1,091 22,734,854 Sony
10 Freddy Got Fingered 2,522,946 7,098,459 -64.5 2,269 2 1,112 11,312,380 Fox
11 One Night at McCools's 2,520,041 1,818 1 1,386 2,520,041 USA Films
12 Kingdom Come 2,130,440 4,209,463 -49.4 964 3 2,210 18,915,324 Fox Searchlight
13 Memento 1,272,481 1,205,695 5.5 326 7 3,903 7,064,242 New Market
14 Josie and the Pussycats 1,205,845 2,941,695 -59.0 1,735 3 695 13,150,920 Universal
15 Enemy at the Gates 1,087,706 2,035,607 -46.6 1,152 7 944 48,159,457 Paramount
16 The Tailor of Panama 941,720 1,582,052 -40.5 359 5 2,623 8,130,673 Sony
17 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 775,304 1,416,939 -45.3 683 21 1,135 123,907,354 Sony Classics
18 Heartbreakers 700,250 1,704,007 -58.9 1,064 6 658 38,448,470 MGM
19 Someone Like You 543,284 1,553,470 -65.0 758 5 717 25,863,786 Fox
20 Traffic 534,020 1,029,892 -48.1 453 18 1,179 121,477,376 USA Films
Top 5 $ 35,750,427 $ 43,819,992 -18.4
Top 10 50,386,961 64,219,275 -21.5
Top 20 62,098,052 76,546,210 -18.9
Top 20 vs. 2000 62,098,052 77,600,411 -20.0

Last Updated by Sujit Chawla: April 30, 2001 at 4:30PM EDT