Weekend Box Office (June 7 - 9, 2002)

THIS WEEKEND The political thriller The Sum of All Fears fended off competition from two new films to remain the number one movie in North America. The estrogen-filled comedy Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood delivered a strong debut in second place and KO'd the testosterone flick Bad Company which gave super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer his worst opening in nearly two decades. Star Wars Episode II and Spider-Man remained in the top five while Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron showed off its thoroughbred legs.

Moviegoers continued to make CIA specialist Jack Ryan the hero of the day as The Sum of All Fears once again topped the box office with $19.2M in its second weekend, according to final studio figures. Paramount's nuclear actioner played in 3,218 theaters, averaging a solid $5,976, and watched its ten-day cume soar to $62.3M. Off a reasonable 38% from its opening weekend gross, the $68M adaptation of the Tom Clancy best-seller should find its way to $115-125M domestically.

Second place went to another novel-turned-hit-film. Warner Bros. got off to a great start with the opening of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood which bowed in second place with $16.2M. The PG-13 film stars Ellen Burstyn, Sandra Bullock, and Ashley Judd and played in 2,507 homes for a loving $6,449 average. Critics were generally pleased with the comedic drama and moviegoers polled by CinemaScore.com gave the film a promising A grade. With so many male-driven pictures in the marketplace, and most female-skewing flicks aging, Ya-Ya stood as a worthy alternative and hopes to parlay its solid bow into a durable theatrical run. The film reportedly cost $27M to produce and gave Bullock her best opening ever edging the $16.16M bow of 1997's Speed 2.

Both 1995's The Bridges of Madison County and 1998's The Horse Whisperer followed the same path being star-driven films, based on popular novels, appealing to adult women and released at the beginning of summer. Each had legs as Bridges opened with $10.5M on its way to $71.5M while Horse debuted with $13.7M leading to a $75.4M total. With few major competitors for adult women in the coming weeks, Ya-Ya should hold its own and stick around the top ten for a while. Studio exit polls showed that 80% of the audience was female, but Warner Bros. hopes that positive word-of-mouth will help bring in men in the coming weeks.

Overall box office sales were up slightly from last year, however Saturday business for most films took a hit which some industry observers attributed to the numerous sporting events which distracted many patrons that day. In addition to the much-hyped Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson boxing match, the day also saw a triple-overtime NHL Finals game, the French Open title match between the Williams sisters, the Triple Crown possibilities at the Belmont Stakes, and ongoing World Cup soccer matches.

Mace Windu and company followed in third place as Star Wars Episode II grossed $14M in its fourth outing, down 33%, boosting its cume to a huge $255.1M. Attack of the Clones cracked the top 20 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters and now sits at number 19 just ahead of last year's Monsters, Inc. which hauled in $254.3M. Episode II should find its way to $300-315M in North America.

Generating a disappointing debut in fourth place was the Anthony Hopkins-Chris Rock spy flick Bad Company which grossed $11M from a very wide 2,944 theaters. Averaging a not-so-good $3,739 per theater, the PG-13 film gave its producer Jerry Bruckheimer his worst opening weekend in 18 years. The Buena Vista release was directed by Joel Schumacher and finds Hopkins playing a CIA vet who enlists the street-smart twin brother of a former agent (Rock) into his mission. The PG-13 film was not liked by many critics and received a mediocre B grade from moviegoers polled by CinemaScore.com. Previously scheduled for a late-2001 release, Bad Company was pushed back in the wake of September 11 over concerns surrounding its plot which revolves around nuclear terrorists.

For Bruckheimer, Bad Company represents a blemish on a nearly spotless box office track record that has spanned the last twenty years. Known for high-energy action films, the producer has not seen an opening this bad since 1984's Thief of Hearts. The 1994 comedy The Ref starring Denis Leary debuted with just $3M, however Bruckheimer was only Executive Producer on that picture. Bruckheimer's last three films all opened wide at number one (Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor, and Remember the Titans) and eleven of the films he has produced, both solo and with former partner the late Don Simpson, have crossed $100M in domestic ticket sales.

The year's biggest blockbuster, Spider-Man, continued to scale the all-time list and spun a sixth-weekend gross of $10.3M placing it fifth for the frame. Sony's franchise film slipped just 28% and raised its amazing total to $370.4M after 38 days. Spider-Man hopped over Jurassic Park's $357.1M to claim fifth place on the all-time list of megahits where it should finish at. Surpassing Star Wars Episode I's $431.1M for fourth place is unlikely as the webslinger should retire with a still-phenomenal $400-410M.

Still displaying the most muscular legs in the pack, the animated adventure Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron witnessed the smallest decline in the top ten easing just 18% to $9.3M in its third journey. The DreamWorks hit has galloped to an impressive $53.6M in 17 days and could clear the $100M hurdle down the stretch.

Universal's spoof comedy Undercover Brother boogied down 39% to $7.3M in its second weekend giving the PG-13 flick $23.6M in ten days. Produced for $25M, the Eddie Griffin spy sendup should find its way to around $45M.

The psychological thriller Insomnia starring Al Pacino and Robin Williams dropped 39% to $6.1M pushing its cume to $52M. Jennifer Lopez followed with Enough which took in $3.8M, off 45%, for a total of $33.8M. Hugh Grant's comedy About a Boy rounded out the top ten falling 36% to $2.7M bringing its sum to $32.4M.

In limited release, the IFC Films comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding expanded from 236 to 443 theaters and registered its biggest gift yet with $1.7M over the weekend. The PG-rated indie hit has consistently landed in the top dozen for the past five weeks and has boosted its cume to a stellar $11M. Fine Line's home-incarceration drama Cherish starring Robin Tunney enjoyed a good start grossing $36,618 from six theaters in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco for a $6,103 average.

Two films fell from the top ten in their fifth weekend of release. Fox's adultery tale Unfaithful starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane fell 40% to $1.8M pushing its cume to $48.9M. Budgeted in the low $60M range, the R-rated thriller should end with roughly $52M. Sony's $13M high school comedy The New Guy has grossed a solid $28.2M to date with not much more to collect.

The top ten films grossed $99.9M which was up 7% from last year when Swordfish opened at number one with $18.1M; and up 11% from 2000 when Gone in 60 Seconds debuted in the top spot with $25.3M.

Compared to projections, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood was right on target with my $16M forecast. However, Bad Company opened with less than half of my overly-optimistic $25M prediction.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on this coming weekend's three new releases. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether Bad Company would gross $80M overall domestically. Of 3,231 responses, 61% said Yes while 39% thought No.

For a review of Bad Company visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Scooby Doo, The Bourne Identity, and Windtalkers all open.

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

# Title Jun 7 - 9 May 31 - Jun 2 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 The Sum of All Fears $ 19,230,111 $ 31,178,526 -38.3 3,218 2 $ 5,976 $ 62,314,003 Paramount
2 Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood 16,167,412 2,507 1 6,449 16,167,412 Warner Bros.
3 Star Wars Episode II 14,011,713 21,002,876 -33.3 3,161 4 4,433 255,106,352 Fox
4 Bad Company 11,007,367 2,944 1 3,739 11,007,367 Buena Vista
5 Spider-Man 10,311,062 14,317,411 -28.0 3,235 6 3,187 370,428,183 Sony
6 Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron 9,303,808 11,303,814 -17.7 3,362 3 2,767 53,648,859 DreamWorks
7 Undercover Brother 7,301,145 12,037,685 -39.3 2,169 2 3,366 23,619,365 Universal
8 Insomnia 6,122,478 9,945,321 -38.4 2,458 3 2,491 52,017,508 Warner Bros.
9 Enough 3,782,592 6,808,026 -44.4 2,388 3 1,584 33,813,043 Sony
10 About A Boy 2,653,520 4,126,600 -35.7 1,618 4 1,640 32,448,670 Universal
11 Unfaithful 1,761,814 2,942,606 -40.1 1,200 5 1,468 48,902,958 Fox
12 My Big Fat Greek Wedding 1,688,563 910,901 85.4 443 7 3,812 11,002,602 IFC Films
13 The Importance of Being Earnest 625,256 773,913 -19.2 147 3 4,253 2,439,918 Miramax
14 The New Guy 606,077 1,415,261 -57.2 684 5 886 28,150,227 Sony
15 Space Station 532,436 548,459 -2.9 52 8 10,239 7,289,670 Imax
16 The Scorpion King 386,590 594,080 -34.9 577 8 670 89,541,345 Universal
17 Monsters, Inc. 272,111 312,742 -13.0 263 32 1,035 254,750,332 Buena Vista
18 Y Tu Mama Tambien 269,611 324,415 -16.9 153 12 1,762 12,031,045 IFC Films
19 Ice Age 250,448 223,374 12.1 330 13 759 173,810,276 Fox
20 Changing Lanes 239,921 437,413 -45.2 327 9 734 65,673,302 Paramount
Top 5 $ 70,727,665 $ 89,840,312 -21.3
Top 10 99,891,208 115,078,126 -13.2
Top 20 106,524,035 119,790,348 -11.1
Top 20 vs. 2001 106,524,035 96,095,825 10.9

Last Updated : June 11, 2002 at 2:30AM EDT