Weekend Box Office (June 29 - July 1, 2001)

THIS WEEKEND After a three-year absence, Steven Spielberg once again was on top of the box office world with the number one opening of the science fiction drama A.I. : Artificial Intelligence. A trio of other new releases had more modest debuts while major holdovers like The Fast and the Furious and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider suffered sharp declines. The overall marketplace during the weekend before the Independence Day holiday was relatively softer as ticket sales for the top ten dropped from last week's and last year's levels.

Warner Bros. claimed the number one spot with A.I. which grossed $29.4M from 3,242 theaters, according to final figures. Starring Haley Joel Osment as a robotic child longing to be more human, the PG-13 film averaged a hearty $9,054 per location. A.I.'s opening weekend performance nearly matched the $30.6M debut of Spielberg's last film - 1998's Saving Private Ryan. With a budget estimated to be roughly $100M, A.I. was originally developed by the late Stanley Kubrick.

Adult couples made up most of the audience for A.I. according to studio data. Ticket sales were almost equally split between men and women and an extraordinarily high 80% were of age 25 or over. "It's a great start and with the upcoming holiday giving the box office a shot in the arm, we should play well for weeks to come," remarked Dan Fellman, distribution president for Warner Bros. Saturday grosses increased a decent 11% over Friday though moviegoers polled by CinemaScore gave the futuristic saga a C+ grade.

A.I. also launched in Japan over the weekend generating an explosive debut. The film grossed an estimated $12M making it one of the largest bows in Japanese box office history. Spielberg's DreamWorks studio co-produced the film and will share in profits even though Warner Bros. is handling worldwide distribution.

Last weekend's surprise box office champ, the street racing picture The Fast and the Furious, hit the brakes and decelerated 50% in its second frame grossing $20.1M. Collecting about as much as many thought it would take in on its opening weekend, the Universal release has now reached a terrific $77.9M in just ten days and seems headed for a final tally of $125-135M. Produced for $38M, The Fast and the Furious should become one of the summer's most profitable pictures.

Also falling down a notch was Fox's family comedy Dr. Dolittle 2 which grossed $15.8M in its second weekend, dropping 37%. With $51.4M in ten days, the $70M Eddie Murphy film looks to find its way to the $100M mark, according to the studio's distribution chief Bruce Snyder.

Dropping 48% in its third weekend, Paramount's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider placed fourth with $10.2M. The Angelina Jolie franchise film has made off with $101.6M and crossed the $100M barrier in only 17 days.

Director John Singleton claimed the number five spot with his new urban drama Baby Boy which took in $8.6M from 1,533 theaters. Averaging a solid $5,614 per venue, the R-rated Sony release stars singer-actor Tyrese Gibson, rapper Snoop Dogg, and Ving Rhames and played to a primarily African-American adult audience, according to studio data. Budgeted at $16M, Baby Boy enjoyed a healthy 27% Friday-to-Saturday increase and has grossed $11.7M since its Wednesday opening.

The animated summer movies Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Shrek followed in sixth and seventh with weekend grosses of $8.3M and $7.7M, respectively. Atlantis fell 34% and brought its total to $58.4M after its third weekend of wide release while Shrek once again suffered the smallest decline in the top ten dipping 26% giving it a mammoth cume of $228.1M. The DreamWorks smash hit now ranks number 24 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters.

Kirsten Dunst witnessed a poor debut for her teen romance Crazy/Beautiful which collected $4.7M in its first weekend. Playing in 1,601 locations, the PG-13 film averaged only $2,945 per site. Produced for $13M, the Buena Vista release fell a disturbing 15% on Saturday and posted an opening that was on par with Dunst's last film, Get Over It, which debuted with just $4.1M.

Rounding out the top ten were Buena Vista's Pearl Harbor with $4.7M, off 31%, and the Warner Bros. release Swordfish which dropped 44% to $4.3M. Totals stand at $179.7M and $60.8M respectively.

Paramount's PG-13 comedy Pootie Tang failed to make the top ten in its debut frame collecting a dismal $1.5M from 712 theaters. Averaging only $2,115, the low-budget picture based on a character from HBO's The Chris Rock Show was budgeted at just $3.5M and played mostly to a young African-American audience, according to the studio.

Three films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Fox's Moulin Rouge dipped 37% to $2.4M lifting its total to $48M. The $50M musical should conclude with $53-55M domestically. The DreamWorks/Sony sci-fi comedy Evolution crumbled 58% to $1.4M pushing its cume to $35.4M. Budgeted at roughly $80M, the David Duchovny picture looks to reach a disappointing $37M. Sony's comedy The Animal grossed $1.1M, down 62%, pushing its sum to $53.7M. The $22M production should end with a healthy $55M.

Compared to projections, A.I. debuted well below my $50M forecast and Baby Boy opened lower than my $13M prediction. Crazy/Beautiful and Pootie Tang both debuted a couple of notches lower than my respective projections of $7M and $3M.

The top ten films grossed $113.8M which was down 7% from last year when The Perfect Storm opened in the top spot with $41.3M; and off 1% from 1999 when Wild Wild West debuted at number one with $27.7M.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on Pearl Harbor. In last week's survey, readers were asked if A.I. would open with at least $45M. Of 4,358 responses, 72% incorrectly guessed yes while 28% correctly voted no.

Read the Weekly Rewind column which looks back at June 1993. For a review of A.I. visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Scary Movie 2, Cats & Dogs, and Kiss of the Dragon all open.

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

# Title Jun. 29 - Jul. 1 Jun. 22 - 24 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 A.I. : Artificial Intelligence $ 29,352,630 3,242 1 $ 9,054 $ 29,352,630 Warner Bros.
2 The Fast and the Furious 20,054,890 40,089,015 -50.0 2,723 2 7,365 77,869,960 Universal
3 Dr. Dolittle 2 15,812,072 25,037,039 -36.8 3,053 2 5,179 51,426,543 Fox
4 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 10,212,454 19,786,356 -48.4 3,349 3 3,049 101,605,316 Paramount
5 Baby Boy 8,606,403 1,533 1 5,614 11,688,196 Sony
6 Atlantis: The Lost Empire 8,285,689 12,586,394 -34.2 3,030 4 2,735 58,437,005 Buena Vista
7 Shrek 7,707,203 10,405,731 -25.9 2,704 7 2,850 228,142,129 DreamWorks
8 Pearl Harbor 4,722,956 6,818,896 -30.7 2,305 6 2,049 179,731,614 Buena Vista
9 Crazy/Beautiful 4,715,060 1,601 1 2,945 4,715,060 Buena Vista
10 Swordfish 4,342,757 7,718,758 -43.7 2,225 4 1,952 60,833,507 Warner Bros.
11 Moulin Rouge 2,447,646 3,851,923 -36.5 1,271 7 1,926 48,023,940 Fox
12 Pootie Tang 1,506,233 712 1 2,115 1,506,233 Paramount
13 Evolution 1,384,289 3,287,925 -57.9 1,376 4 1,006 35,419,055 DreamWorks
14 The Mummy Returns 1,143,390 1,570,745 -27.2 990 9 1,155 198,051,820 Universal
15 The Animal 1,110,042 2,911,346 -61.9 1,302 5 853 53,661,720 Sony
16 Sexy Beast 710,787 611,067 16.3 109 3 6,521 1,914,703 Fox Searchlight
17 Memento 532,875 722,435 -26.2 284 16 1,876 20,463,956 Newmarket
18 The Anniversary Party 433,257 604,493 -28.3 103 4 4,206 1,816,233 Fine Line
19 Bridget Jones's Diary 366,108 578,980 -36.8 343 12 1,067 70,366,654 Miramax
20 What's the Worst That Could Happen? 340,007 1,161,885 -70.7 561 5 606 31,090,224 MGM
Top 5 $ 84,038,449 $ 107,904,535 -22.1
Top 10 113,812,114 132,493,383 -14.1
Top 20 123,786,748 138,813,469 -10.8
Top 20 vs. 2000 123,786,748 129,806,927 -4.6

Last Updated : July 2 , 2001 at 7:30PM EDT