Weekend Box Office (July 26 - 28, 2002)

THIS WEEKEND The road was paved with box office gold for the spy comedy Austin Powers in Goldmember which generated an explosive number-one opening with the fourth largest debut of all time grossing more than the next seventeen movies combined. The third installment of the Mike Myers spoof series collected a staggering $73.1M over the Friday-to-Sunday period, according to final studio figures, and a colossal $76.6M including Thursday night previews. New Line Cinema released its franchise heavyweight in a massive 3,613 theaters with roughly 5,800 prints and averaged a sizzling $20,225 per theater. Goldmember finds Myers playing four outrageous characters and also stars pop singer Beyonce Knowles, Michael Caine, Verne Troyer, and Seth Green. Jay Roach once again directed while a handful of Hollywood's top celebrities contributed side-splitting cameos.

Only three motion pictures, all released within the last nine months, have delivered bigger openings - Spider-Man with $114.8M, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone with $90.3M, and Star Wars Episode II with $80M. Goldmember set new opening records for comedies and for New Line edging out last year's Rush Hour 2 which held both distinctions with its $67.4M bow last August. The groovy spy also broke the July opening weekend benchmark set one year ago by Fox's Planet of the Apes which roared to $68.5M. The last film in the series, 1999's Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, still holds the June opening record with its $54.9M premiere and $57.4M figure including Thursday night previews.

Austin Powers in Goldmember gave the marketplace a well-needed boost as the aggregate gross of the top ten films surged 38% from last weekend when ticket sales suffered an unusual midsummer slowdown. Goldmember alone accounted for 56% of all dollars collected by the top ten and benefited from the public's lack of excitement over the other films in release. As New Line's first summer release, the distributor has been fully focused on marketing the PG-13 film and succeeded in making it an event picture, especially among teens and young adults.

According to final figures from New Line Cinema, Goldmember opened with $26.45M on Friday, dipped 3% to $25.64M on Saturday, and slid just 18% to $20.97M on Sunday. The Friday-to-Saturday decrease was understandable for a heavily-hyped sequel but the slender drop on Sunday was rather impressive.

Though reviews were mixed, audiences were generally pleased as those polled by CinemaScore.com gave the gross-out comedy a good B+ grade with those under 21 giving it an even better A-. The last Austin Powers captured 28% of its $205.5M domestic haul during the opening weekend. Should Goldmember play equally well, it should find its way to even loftier heights and guarantee another installment in the lucrative series.

Far behind Goldmember was the Tom Hanks entry Road to Perdition which claimed the number two spot with $11.1M in its third weekend, slipping only 28%. DreamWorks upped the theatercount by 91 to 2,250 and raised the critically-acclaimed mob drama's total to $65.6M after 17 days. Perdition is still on course to surpass $100M.

Also enjoying a strong hold was the family film Stuart Little 2 which eased just 30% to $10.6M in its sophomore frame. Sony's talking mouse pic has nibbled on $34.7M in ten days and looks headed for the neighborhood of $75M - a far cry from Stuart Little's $140M domestic haul.

Men in Black II slipped a notch and finished fourth with $8.5M dropping 42% from last weekend. Sony's mega-budgeted sci-fi flick has grossed $173.4M thus far and continues to make its way to the double-century mark. Overseas, MIB2 gunned down six number one openings this weekend as the Will Smith-Tommy Lee Jones pic invaded Brazil, Norway, Denmark, Israel, South Africa, and Turkey.

In its second weekend, Harrison Ford's submarine drama K-19: The Widowmaker sank 43% to $7.3M putting its ten-day cume at $25M. Carrying a reported production budget of about $100M, the Paramount release should find its way to an underwhelming $45-50M.

Debuting poorly in sixth place was Disney's The Country Bears with $5.3M from 2,553 theaters for a dismal $2,080 average. The G-rated comedy was the latest kidpic this summer to disappoint following duds like Hey Arnold! The Movie and The Powerpuff Girls. A warmer reception awaits Bears on video.

Adam Sandler's Mr. Deeds fell 42% to $4.2M lifting the total for the Sony comedy to $116.2M after one month of release. Buena Vista's sci-fi actioner Reign of Fire tumbled another 53% to $3.5M for a $36.4M cume.

Two successful films returned to the top ten this weekend. Down only 30% to $3.1M was the Tom Cruise hit Minority Report which has grossed $123.4M to date. IFC Films expanded its independent smash My Big Fat Greek Wedding from 530 to 569 theaters and watched sales climb 20% to $3M for a tenth-place showing. Now in its 15th week of release, the ethnic comedy generated its highest weekend gross to date and boosted its runaway cume to $35.4M. Wedding averaged a solid $5,280 (second-best in the top ten) and shows no signs of slowing down whatsoever.

Four films were shoved out of the top ten over the weekend. Disney's Lilo & Stitch fell 45% to $2.7M in its sixth weekend elevating its cume to $134.2M. The $80M animated comedy should finish with about $140M making it the studio's biggest traditionally-animated film since 1999's Tarzan. The sci-fi comedy Eight Legged Freaks got squashed in its second attack and has grossed just $14.2M in twelve days with not much steam left. MGM's $12M comedy The Crocodile Hunter has taken in $23.2M to date and looks to finish with about $27M. The $13M slasher flick Halloween: Resurrection has hacked up $26.9M thus far and should reach about $32M.

Showing muscles in its platform bow, the documentary The Kid Stays in the Picture grossed $89,087 for Focus Features from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The R-rated film averaged a potent $22,272 and expands into more markets in late August.

The top ten films grossed $129.7M which was down 8% from last year when Planet of the Apes opened at number one with $68.5M; but up 11% from 2000 when Nutty Professor II debuted in the top spot with $42.5M.

Compared to projections, Goldmember powered past my bullish forecast of $64M while The Country Bears debuted below my $9M prediction.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on whether Signs or XXX will have the bigger opening weekend. In last week's survey, readers were asked if the opening of Austin Powers in Goldmember would surpass $60M. Of 5,871 responses, 47% correctly said Yes while 53% thought No.

For a review of Austin Powers in Goldmember visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Signs, Master of Disguise, and Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat all open.

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

# Title Jul 26 - 28 Jul 19 - 21 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Austin Powers in Goldmember $ 73,071,188 3,613 1 $ 20,225 $ 76,624,907 New Line
2 Road to Perdition 11,106,213 15,412,515 -27.9 2,250 3 4,936 65,647,145 DreamWorks
3 Stuart Little 2 10,612,127 15,115,152 -29.8 3,282 2 3,233 34,724,638 Sony
4 Men in Black II 8,477,202 14,552,335 -41.7 3,542 4 2,393 173,380,738 Sony
5 K-19: The Widowmaker 7,266,631 12,778,459 -43.1 2,830 2 2,568 24,961,696 Paramount
6 The Country Bears 5,309,675 2,553 1 2,080 5,309,675 Buena Vista
7 Mr. Deeds 4,247,371 7,312,128 -41.9 2,309 5 1,839 116,163,991 Sony
8 Reign of Fire 3,469,035 7,317,994 -52.6 2,005 3 1,730 36,406,517 Buena Vista
9 Minority Report 3,124,360 4,457,544 -29.9 1,365 6 2,289 123,375,096 Fox
10 My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3,004,597 2,497,454 20.3 569 15 5,280 35,417,552 IFC Films
11 Lilo & Stitch 2,733,495 4,973,660 -45.0 1,780 6 1,536 134,221,957 Buena Vista
12 Halloween: Resurrection 2,658,167 5,520,536 -51.8 1,884 3 1,411 26,941,784 Miramax
13 The Bourne Identity 2,604,445 3,803,690 -31.5 1,155 7 2,255 110,237,145 Universal
14 Eight Legged Freaks 2,402,482 6,485,458 -63.0 2,530 2 950 14,193,403 Warner Bros.
15 Like Mike 2,390,646 4,373,565 -45.3 1,405 4 1,702 46,156,257 Fox
16 The Crocodile Hunter 1,840,339 4,667,895 -60.6 1,708 3 1,077 23,233,182 MGM
17 Star Wars Episode II 771,155 1,020,638 -24.4 463 11 1,666 296,976,568 Fox
18 Space Station 678,094 674,941 0.5 61 15 11,116 16,398,374 Imax
19 Scooby Doo 644,424 1,522,374 -57.7 801 7 805 150,027,623 Warner Bros.
20 Lovely and Amazing 565,000 535,201 5.6 165 5 3,424 1,729,022 Lions Gate
Top 5 $ 110,533,361 $ 65,176,455 69.6
Top 10 129,688,399 94,136,132 37.8
Top 20 146,976,646 115,028,471 27.8
Top 20 vs. 2001 146,976,646 149,483,669 -1.7

Last Updated : July 29, 2002 at 8:00PM EDT