Weekend Box Office (July 5 - 7, 2002)

THIS WEEKEND Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and a whole flock of CGI aliens seized the Fourth of July holiday box office and generated a record opening with the space sequel Men in Black II. Released by Sony Pictures in 3,557 theaters, the Barry Sonnenfeld-directed film grossed $52.1M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and $87.2M over the long five-day weekend, according to final studio figures. The PG-13 pic averaged a stellar $14,661 over three days and a muscular $24,527 over the Wednesday-to-Sunday span. The studio spent tens of millions on marketing and saturated the marketplace with the event film playing it on over 6,000 total screens.

Higher ticket prices and a few hundred additional theaters were chief components in allowing MIB2 to break the holiday weekend record. The old three-day benchmark was held by the original Men in Black for the last five years. That picture opened in 1997 with a Friday-to-Sunday gross of $51.1M from 3,020 locations for a stronger $16,910 average. Over five days, MIB opened with $79.3M ($26,263 average) or $84.1M when including Tuesday night previews which MIB2 did not have. Official daily grosses for the alien sequel were $18.6M for Wednesday, $16.5M for Thursday, $19.8M for Friday, $18.5M for Saturday, and $13.8M for Sunday.

Reviews were not kind to Men in Black II, however the franchise film was made for summer moviegoers, not for critics. Ticket buyers polled by CinemaScore.com gave the effects-driven picture a decent B+ grade. The budget for MIB2 was estimated at $140M which does not include reported percentage deals for the two stars and the director. Promotional partners like Mercedes Benz and Burger King helped to offset the astronomical cost of producing and marketing Sony's tentpole film. Simultaneous openings overseas in territories like Japan and Australia brought in $11.7M with more bows around the corner.

Suffering the worst decline in the top ten, Adam Sandler's comedy Mr. Deeds tumbled 51% to $18.4M in its second weekend. The Sony release has grossed $73.6M in ten days and looks headed for $110-120M. With both MIB2 and Mr. Deeds in its stable, plus the juggernaut Spider-Man, Sony Pictures is poised to cross the $1 billion mark in year-to-date grosses by the end of the week. No studio has ever reached that mark as early as July and upcoming titles like Stuart Little 2 and XXX hope to continue to give the studio a healthy lead in the annual marketshare race. Spider-Man, meanwhile, became only the third film in box office history after Titanic and Star Wars Episode I to reach the $400M domestic mark in its initial release.

Disney's Lilo & Stitch gobbled up another $12.6M and placed third dropping 41% from last weekend. With $103M in its first 17 days, the PG-rated film became the first traditionally animated picture to cross the $100M mark in three years. The studio's own Tarzan was the last old-school toon to accomplish the feat when it swung to $171.1M in the summer of 1999.

Tom Cruise's sci-fi thriller Minority Report fell 42% in its third weekend and brought in $12.6M as well. The Steven Spielberg entry has captured $97.1M to date and will cross the century mark in the middle of the week.

Opening with authority in fifth place was the fantasy comedy Like Mike which scored $12.2M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Playing in 2,410 theaters, the Fox release averaged a solid $5,054 and grossed a strong $19M over the five-day holiday session. The PG-rated film stars rapper Lil' Bow Wow as a youngster who comes across a magical pair of sneakers that give him amazing basketball skills which land him in the NBA. Audiences applauded Like Mike as those polled by CinemaScore.com gave the picture a promising A grade. The film's production budget was reportedly under $30M.

The weekend's smallest decline was posted by Universal's assassin thriller The Bourne Identity which slipped just 18% to $9.2M for a cume of $89M after its fourth weekend. Also in its fourth lap was Scooby Doo which grossed $7M, down 43%, giving the Warner Bros. franchise pic $137.5M to date. In eighth place, Paramount's The Sum of All Fears took in $3.7M which was off just 24% and lifted the actioner's total to $111.7M.

The Powerpuff Girls were sent to bed early as the feature film debut of the Cartoon Network animated series pulled in a disappointing $3.6M in its first weekend. The Warner Bros. title averaged a weak $1,531 from 2,340 theaters and grossed a puny $6.1M since its Wednesday opening.

Rounding out the top ten was Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood which dropped 31% to $2.8M for a $61.1M sum.

In its eighth weekend, Star Wars Episode II left the top ten and collected $2.45M. Sliding 33%, the Fox blockbuster has raised its cume to $291.3M and aims for a domestic finish of about $300M.

The top ten films grossed $134.2M which was up 17% from last year when Cats & Dogs opened at number one with $21.7M; and up a miniscule 2% from 2000 when Scary Movie debuted in the top spot with $42.3M.

Compared to projections, Men in Black II opened close to my five-day forecast of $95M. Like Mike debuted higher than my $16M prediction while The Powerpuff Girls opened well below my $21M projection.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on this coming weekend's new releases. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether Men in Black II would reach the $250M domestic gross of 1997's MIB. Of 1,710 responses, the voting was equally divided.

For a review of Men in Black II visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Road to Perdition, Halloween: Resurrection, Reign of Fire, and Crocodile Hunter all open.

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

# Title Jul 5 - 7 Jun 28 - 30 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Men in Black II $ 52,148,751 3,557 1 $ 14,661 $ 87,241,586 Sony
2 Mr. Deeds 18,411,597 37,162,787 -50.5 3,231 2 5,698 73,613,421 Sony
3 Lilo & Stitch 12,636,421 21,515,886 -41.3 3,222 3 3,922 103,018,879 Buena Vista
4 Minority Report 12,556,624 21,590,412 -41.8 2,729 3 4,601 97,119,723 Fox
5 Like Mike 12,179,420 2,410 1 5,054 19,018,444 Fox
6 The Bourne Identity 9,156,240 11,197,915 -18.2 2,512 4 3,645 89,020,190 Universal
7 Scooby Doo 7,022,624 12,362,423 -43.2 3,257 4 2,156 137,527,058 Warner Bros.
8 The Sum of All Fears 3,715,435 4,858,184 -23.5 1,592 6 2,334 111,723,472 Paramount
9 The Powerpuff Girls 3,583,114 2,340 1 1,531 6,127,313 Warner Bros.
10 Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood 2,814,943 4,051,483 -30.5 1,792 5 1,571 61,144,497 Warner Bros.
11 My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,508,748 2,002,184 25.3 499 11 5,028 23,576,174 IFC Films
12 Star Wars Episode II 2,450,654 3,668,293 -33.2 1,162 8 2,109 291,297,397 Fox
13 Spider-Man 2,204,636 3,130,214 -29.6 1,502 10 1,468 400,058,357 Sony
14 Hey Arnold! The Movie 2,008,222 5,706,332 -64.8 2,534 2 793 10,726,465 Paramount
15 Windtalkers 1,769,971 3,501,253 -49.4 1,563 4 1,132 36,601,964 MGM
16 Juwanna Mann 1,018,720 2,608,576 -60.9 852 3 1,196 12,097,952 Warner Bros.
17 Insomnia 731,895 1,101,245 -33.5 460 7 1,591 65,041,677 Warner Bros.
18 Space Station 724,306 573,939 26.2 60 12 12,072 12,302,055 Imax
19 About A Boy 579,530 939,770 -38.3 487 8 1,190 40,103,395 Universal
20 The Importance of Being Earnest 491,101 469,265 4.7 216 7 2,274 5,843,943 Miramax
Top 5 $ 107,932,813 $ 103,829,423 4.0
Top 10 134,225,169 125,614,968 6.9
Top 20 148,712,952 138,813,925 7.1
Top 20 vs. 2001 148,712,952 128,731,376 15.5

Last Updated : July 8, 2002 at 8:00PM EDT