Weekend Box Office (July 7 - 9, 2000)

THIS WEEKEND For the second session in a row, a promising box office entry stormed into the number one spot with ticket sales that blew away industry expectations. Miramax's spoof comedy Scary Movie opened with a towering $42.3M, according to final studio figures, giving it the largest opening ever for an R-rated film breaking the record held by 1997's Air Force One which debuted with $37.1M. Spooking moviegoers in 2,912 theaters, the Keenen Ivory Wayans-directed feature averaged a scorching $14,542. Scary Movie pokes fun at teen slasher movies of recent years and stars Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, and Carmen Electra.

Miramax can take most of the credit for the spectacular showing of the inexpensive $19M comedy. Hilarious trailers and advance screenings infected the marketplace with a buzz that grew rapidly in the final two weeks before release. And with the summer movie season offering more older-skewing pictures than last year, teens and young adults were starving for an event film they could call their own. Scary Movie also generated the best opening ever for Miramax, the second biggest debut this year after Mission: Impossible 2, and the third best July opening in history after Men in Black and Independence Day. Plus, it cost only a fraction of what those pricey films were budgeted at.

Last weekend's top film, The Perfect Storm, slipped to second with $27.1M falling a reasonable 34%. The George Clooney disaster pic crossed the $100M mark in a very speedy ten days. The Warner Bros. release cost between $120-140M to produce and could be able to collect $170-190M at the domestic box office.

Mel Gibson's Revolutionary War adventure The Patriot declined only 31% in its sophomore weekend to $15.4M and boosted its 12-day sum to a healthy $65.5M. With not much competition for adults, the R-rated Sony release displayed good staying power and looks certain to become the Oscar winner's seventh $100M+ blockbuster with Chicken Run hoping to be his eighth.

Bruce Willis reteamed with the folks at Disney for the family comedy The Kid which opened with a good $12.7M. Playing in 2,167 theaters, the film about a 40-year-old man who meets his 8-year-old self averaged a solid $5,855. Buena Vista reported that 90% of those patrons polled rated the picture "excellent" or "very good" and that females made up 54% of the audience. The distributor is considering adding more locations this coming Friday. The Kid's opening was somewhat similar to the opening of Willis' last movie, The Whole Nine Yards, which launched in February with $13.7M and a $4,719 average.

DreamWorks once again claimed the lowest decline in the top ten with their clay animation hit Chicken Run which grossed $9.9M in its third weekend. Sliding only 25%, the British toon has collected a solid $63.7M in 17 days of wide release and stands a chance at becoming the highest-grossing animated film in its studio's history.

Jim Carrey's comedy Me, Myself, and Irene brought in $8.4M bringing its 17-day total to $67.4M. Off 37% from last weekend, the Fox release should eventually finish with $85-95M.

Paramount's Shaft collected $4.1M in its fourth weekend bringing its total to $62M. Martin Lawrence secured the first $100M blockbuster of his career as Big Momma's House grossed $4.1M taking eighth place. The summer's biggest comedy has raised its cume to $103.6M. Asked at the start of summer which comedy Fox would see the most sales from, few industry observers would have chosen Lawrence's Momma over Carrey's Irene.

Attracting $3.9M in receipts during its second weekend, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle lifted its ten-day sum to a disappointing $16.1M. Produced for $76M, the Universal release is likely to reach only $25-30M domestically which will hardly pay for the marketing campaign. Nicolas Cage rounded out the top ten with the car heist pic Gone in 60 Seconds which took in $3.6M for a $86.5M cume.

The year's two highest grossing films dropped out of the top ten after hugely successful runs. Tom Cruise's MI2 brought in an estimated $3.3M sliding only 33% in its seventh weekend. Paramount's $90M franchise hit has tallied a stunning $204M to date (outperforming the original's $181M) and has held up surprisingly well each week despite being a sequel. MI2 should go on to finish with $210-220M.

It's been a banner year for Russell Crowe thanks to the smash hit Gladiator which grossed an estimated $2M, slipping just 18% in its tenth battle. Produced for $103M, the DreamWorks/Universal co-production has upped its cume to a mighty $173.9M and could retire with $180-185M stateside with a global tally racing towards $400M.

Lions Gate saw a superb start to its teen comedy But I'm A Cheerleader which picked up $60,410 from four sites for a potent $15,103 average. The film expands nationally on July 28.

Compared to projections, Scary Movie powered its way well past my $26M forecast while The Kid opened close to my $14M prediction.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on whether X-Men will open with at least $30M. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether this summer's movies have been better than last summer's. Of 2,291 responses, 55% said Worse, 23% said Better, and 22% chose Same.

Be sure to read the Weekly Rewind column which reports on July's biggest opening weekends. For a review of Scary Movie visit The Chief Report.

The top ten films over the weekend grossed $131.7M which was up 28% from last year when American Pie debuted in the top spot with $18.7M, and up 17% from 1998 when Lethal Weapon 4 opened at number one with $34M.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when X-Men leap into theaters.

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

# Title Jul. 7 - 9 Jun. 30 - Jul. 2 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Scary Movie $ 42,346,669 2,912 1 $ 14,542 $ 42,346,669 Miramax
2 The Perfect Storm 27,118,925 41,325,042 -34.4 3,407 2 7,960 100,195,906 Warner Bros.
3 The Patriot 15,420,167 22,413,710 -31.2 3,061 2 5,038 65,457,373 Sony
4 The Kid 12,687,726 2,167 1 5,855 12,687,726 Buena Vista
5 Chicken Run 9,938,352 13,192,897 -24.7 2,901 3 3,426 63,688,452 DreamWorks
6 Me, Myself, and Irene 8,417,322 13,329,769 -36.9 2,996 3 2,810 67,429,485 Fox
7 Shaft 4,117,401 6,665,815 -38.2 2,262 4 1,820 62,020,393 Paramount
8 Big Momma's House 4,069,050 6,063,039 -32.9 1,926 6 2,113 103,641,062 Fox
9 The Adv. of Rocky and Bullwinkle 3,933,970 6,814,270 -42.3 2,482 2 1,585 16,074,150 Universal
10 Gone in 60 Seconds 3,608,888 5,320,271 -32.2 1,871 5 1,929 86,540,304 Buena Vista
11 Mission: Impossible 2 3,287,377 4,909,248 -33.0 2,057 7 1,598 204,013,487 Paramount
12 Gladiator 2,028,736 2,426,872 -16.4 1,210 10 1,677 173,971,075 DreamWorks
13 Dinosaur 664,371 1,404,282 -52.7 848 8 783 131,915,615 Buena Vista
14 Boys and Girls 542,333 1,342,473 -59.6 873 4 621 19,561,432 Miramax
15 Road Trip 439,669 713,905 -38.4 607 8 724 66,238,039 DreamWorks
16 Fantasia 2000 388,474 692,841 -43.9 1,278 4 304 58,333,531 Buena Vista
17 Titan A.E. 380,776 1,227,227 -69.0 728 4 523 21,513,072 Fox
18 Shanghai Noon 376,998 715,032 -47.3 411 7 917 54,268,080 Buena Vista
19 Sunshine 357,194 312,914 14.2 98 5 3,645 1,654,500 Par. Classics
20 Michael Jordan to the MAX 353,241 412,876 -14.4 50 10 7,065 6,970,385 Giant Screen
Top 5 $ 107,511,839 $ 97,075,688 10.8
Top 10 131,658,470 122,460,933 7.5
Top 20 140,477,639 129,806,927 8.2
Top 20 vs. 1999 140,477,639 112,053,819 25.4

Last Updated : July 10 at 10:45PM EDT

Written by Gitesh Pandya