Weekend Box Office (July 6 - 8, 2001)

by Sujit Chawla

THIS WEEKEND In what has to be considered the second upset in the last three weeks, the Warner Bros. talking animal adventure Cats & Dogs took the checkered flag at the box office, out dueling Miramax's ghostly comedy spoof Scary Movie 2.

Showing that the world just can't get enough of animals that can talk, Cats & Dogs opened strong this weekend with $21.7M, according to final studio figures. Having debuted on Wednesday, Cats has a total gross over five days of $35.8M. Averaging a top 10 best of $7,141 per theater, Cats opened stronger over the long weekend than the last talking animal picture Dr. Dolittle 2 which bowed just 2 weeks ago to a $25M opening. Climbing 21% from Friday-to-Saturday, Cats has a promising future ahead. With no other films aimed directly at kids due for release until August, Cats & Dogs should be able to cross the $100M mark with ease.

In second place this weekend was the Wayans brothers' second trip to spoof-land, Scary Movie 2. Opening almost exactly a year after the original, Scary scared up $20.5M over the three-day weekend, and $34M since its opening on Wednesday. Playing in 3,220 sites, the R-rated comedy averaged a solid $6,368 per theater. Last year the first Scary Movie opened with $42.3M over a normal three-day weekend, on its way to a $157M domestic total. With a Friday-to-Saturday increase of only 4% the sequel is going to be hard pressed to reach the heights of the original.

Last week's number one, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence slipped two spots to number three this weekend with $14M. Slipping an alarming 52% from last weekend, A.I.'s total gross now stands at $59.6M. By comparison, Steven Spielberg's Academy Award-winning Saving Private Ryan had $73.4M in the bank over its first ten days. While A.I. may be able to reach the $100M mark, it still has to be considered a disappointment for a film with two highly acclaimed names like Spielberg and Kubrick attached to it. The film, which cost a reported $100M to make, has apparently scared away moviegoers with a darker than expected story line.

Debuting in fourth place this weekend was the Jet Li/Bridget Fonda action-adventure pic Kiss of the Dragon. Kicking up the second highest average ($6,570 from 2,025 theaters) in the top ten, Dragon opened with $13.3M this weekend. Li's last project, Romeo Must Die opened in March of last year with $18M on its way to a $56M total. Dragon looks to end up in the $50-60M range as well.

Rounding out the top five this weekend was the surprise hit of the summer, The Fast and the Furious. Racing to the tune of $12.3M this weekend, Furious crossed the $100M mark on Sunday, becoming the seventh film this year to do so. With a reported negative cost of only $38M, Universal's Vin Diesel film has become one of the most profitable films so far this year. Its total gross now stands at $101.4M.

Outside of the top five, Dr. Dolittle 2 suffered slightly at the hands of the other talking animal picture, and barked up another $10.5M this weekend, bringing its cume to $71.9M. Angelina Jolie's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider came in seventh with $6.7M, bringing its total to $115.5M. In eighth place was everyone's favorite ogre, Shrek which took in $6M. Dropping a top ten low of only 22% from last weekend, the DreamWorks animated wonder's total now stands at a fairy tale like $240.6M.

In ninth place is the Disney animated adventure Atlantis, which grabbed another $5.1M over the weekend. Its cume now stands at $69.4M. And rounding out the top ten was the John Singleton helmed Baby Boy. Dropping 44% from last week Boy picked up $4.8M, bringing its total to $20.8M.

Three films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Buena Vista's teen romance Crazy/Beautiful slipped just 22% to $3.7M and seems headed for a $21-24M final. The distributor's summer tentpole pic Pearl Harbor slid 31% to $3.2M in its seventh weekend. The Jerry Bruckheimer flick has grossed $186.6M and should reach $195-200M. John Travolta's action thriller Swordfish fell 51% to $2.1M for a $65.7M cume on its way to about $70M.

The top ten films grossed $114.9M which was down 13% from last year when Scary Movie opened in the top spot with $42.3M; but up 12% from 1999 when American Pie debuted at number one with $18.7M.

Compared to projections, Scary Movie 2 came in around half of what I predicted, while Cats & Dogs and Kiss of the Dragon came fairly close to what I projected.

For reviews of Scary Movie 2, A.I. : Artificial Intelligence and The Fast and the Furious, visit The Chief Report.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on which of next weekend's three new movies will open best. In last week's survey, readers were asked if Pearl Harbor would cross $200M domestically. Of 5,412 responses, 44% said yes while 56% thought no. Read the Weekly Rewind column which looks back at June 1993.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Final Fantasy : The Spirits Within, Legally Blonde, and The Score all open.

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

# Title July 6 - 8 Jun. 29 - Jul. 1 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Cats and Dogs $ 21,707,617 3,040 1 $ 7,141 $ 35,756,549 Warner Bros.
2 Scary Movie 2 20,503,356 3,220 1 6,368 34,013,007 Miramax
3 A.I. : Artificial Intelligence 14,037,488 29,352,630 -52.2 3,242 2 4,330 59,573,204 Warner Bros.
4 Kiss of the Dragon 13,304,027 2,025 1 6,570 13,304,027 Fox
5 The Fast and the Furious 12,283,220 20,054,890 -38.8 2,798 3 4,390 101,385,540 Universal
6 Dr. Dolittle 2 10,466,709 15,812,072 -33.8 3,028 3 3,457 71,891,189 Fox
7 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 6,727,225 10,212,454 -34.1 3,010 4 2,235 115,543,168 Paramount
8 Shrek 6,007,027 7,707,203 -22.1 2,107 8 2,851 240,560,159 DreamWorks
9 Atlantis: The Lost Empire 5,068,438 8,285,689 -38.8 2,272 5 2,231 69,424,804 Buena Vista
10 Baby Boy 4,811,917 8,606,403 -44.1 1,533 2 3,139 20,780,204 Sony
11 Crazy/Beautiful 3,680,332 4,715,060 -21.9 1,603 2 2,296 11,859,840 Buena Vista
12 Pearl Harbor 3,242,099 4,722,956 -31.4 1,434 7 2,261 186,599,845 Buena Vista
13 Swordfish 2,116,311 4,342,757 -51.3 1,320 5 1,603 65,719,141 Warner Bros.
14 Moulin Rouge 1,352,672 2,447,646 -44.7 648 8 2,087 50,951,493 Fox
15 Sexy Beast 736,683 710,787 3.6 134 4 5,498 3,088,225 Fox Searchlight
16 The Mummy Returns 708,965 1,143,390 -38.0 709 10 1,000 199,391,125 Universal
17 Pootie Tang 643,119 1,506,233 -57.3 712 2 903 2,839,456 Paramount
18 Memento 490,136 532,875 -8.0 223 17 2,198 21,372,479 Newmarket
19 The Anniversary Party 428,198 433,257 -1.2 106 5 4,040 2,541,364 Fine Line
20 Evolution 415,837 1,384,289 -70.0 457 5 910 36,724,045 DreamWorks
Top 5 $ 81,835,708 $ 84,038,449 -2.6
Top 10 114,917,024 113,812,114 1.0
Top 20 128,731,376 123,786,748 4.0
Top 20 vs. 2000 128,731,376 140,477,639 -8.4

Last Updated : July 9, 2001 at 8:30PM EDT