Weekend Box Office (August 9 - 11, 2002)

THIS WEEKEND Rising action hero Vin Diesel claimed the box office crown with the muscular opening of the testosterone-filled spy thriller XXX. However, the broader marketplace failed to keep up as almost every other wide release suffered a decline of more than 50% leading to yet another drop in overall grosses versus last summer. Two other new titles were met with mixed results. The family adventure Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams opened with respectable figures while Clint Eastwood's Blood Work disappointed.

The much-hyped actioner XXX soared to the number one spot with $44.5M, according to final figures, launching a new action movie franchise for producer Revolution Studios and distributor Sony Pictures. Skydiving into 3,374 theaters, the Rob Cohen film averaged a supercharged $13,191 per venue and outperformed last summer's Cohen-Diesel collaboration, The Fast and Furious, which bowed to $40.1M. Furious, however, played in 746 fewer locations and averaged a more potent $15,255 average.

The loud opening of XXX represents the fourth biggest for Sony and the fourth largest in the month of August. In the PG-13 film, Vin Diesel plays an extreme sports-loving felon recruited by the government to be a secret agent. Samuel L. Jackson co-stars. Young males were the target audience and showed up in big numbers. According to studio exit polling, 52% of the audience was male and 60% was under the age of 25. Sony poured tens of millions into its marketing campaign and has already begun development on a sequel. While critics gave XXX mixed reviews, moviegoers were generally pleased. Audiences polled by CinemaScore.com gave the stunt-driven spy actioner an A- grade overall with those under 21 giving it an A.

Mel Gibson watched sales get sliced in half for his suspense thriller Signs which collected a still-impressive $29.5M in its second weekend. Playing in 3,310 theaters, the M. Night Shyamalan film averaged a solid $8,899 per crop circle and lifted its ten-day cume to $117.7M. The Buena Vista release crossed the century mark on Saturday, its ninth day of release, and became the tenth $100M blockbuster of Gibson's career. The 51% decline was understandable given the lofty height of the opening frame and the new competition from XXX this weekend. With weaker titles debuting in the weeks ahead, Signs could find its way to $190-200M.

Opening in third place was Miramax's family adventure film Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams with $16.7M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. The sequel to last year's surprise blockbuster played in 3,307 theaters and averaged $5,053 per location. Since its Wednesday bow, the PG-rated film has grossed $25M in five days which is just shy of the original's $26.5M three-day opening tally. The first Spy Kids went on to gross $112.7M. Spy Kids 2, which reunited writer/director Robert Rodriguez with the cast from the first movie, reportedly cost $38M to produce which is relatively inexpensive for an effects-filled action sequel. Moviegoers polled by CinemaScore.com gave the picture an overall A- grade with the target audience of kids giving it an A.

Audiences continued to abandon Austin Powers in Goldmember which sank 58% to $13.1M in its third weekend. The New Line comedy sequel has now grossed $167.8M in 17 days and should make it to about $190-200M. That would put Goldmember a notch below the last installment of the franchise, 1999's Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, which grossed $205.5M domestically.

Moviegoers mostly ignored Clint Eastwood's latest detective pic Blood Work which grossed just $7.3M in its opening weekend. Warner Bros. released the actor/director's film in 2,525 theaters and averaged a poor $2,896 per site. Reviews were mostly positive and audiences polled by CinemaScore.com gave the R-rated picture a B grade.

The Dana Carvey comedy The Master of Disguise plunged 59% in its second weekend and placed sixth with $5.1M. The $16M Sony release has grossed $23.8M in ten days and should finish with $30-33M. Road to Perdition enjoyed the best hold among the major Hollywood movies dropping 36% to $4.2M giving the DreamWorks release $84.3M to date. The critically acclaimed Tom Hanks drama continues its journey towards the $100M mark.

IFC Films continued to expand its unstoppable indie hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding adding 66 theaters for a total of 723 resulting in a $3.1M weekend take. Still averaging a solid $4,334, the PG-rated comedy has grossed an amazing $45.1M thus far with countless more presents still to open.

Martin Lawrence Live crumbled 58% in its sophomore outing taking in $3.1M. The low-budget Paramount concert comedy has laughed up $13.1M in ten days and should reach $17-20M before heading off to video store shelves. Stuart Little 2 rounded out the top ten with a steep decline of its own. The Sony sequel fell 56% to $2.7M raising its cume to $53M.

Fox Searchlight generated the biggest platform opening in company history with the Jennifer Aniston starrer The Good Girl which grossed $151,642 from only four theaters for a potent $37,910 average. The R-rated drama about a woman torn between her husband and a younger co-worker received rave reviews for both the picture and Aniston's acting. Girl has grossed $208,639 since its Wednesday premiere. Hoping to capitalize on such a strong start, the distributor will expand the film into 18 additional markets on Friday for a total of about 55 theaters. More expansions are planned for the following two weekends which would put the Miguel Arteta-directed drama in about 500 locations by Labor Day weekend.

Also bowing well in limited release was the British comedy 24 Hour Party People which grossed $34,940 from two Manhattan locations. The MGM/UA release looks at the rise of the punk music scene in Manchester in the 1970s.

Three films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Sony's Men in Black II fell 57% to $2.1M in its sixth mission and boosted its tally to $186.5M. The $140M tentpole pic should end its run with around $190M falling short of the 1997 original's $250.1M domestic tally. Harrison Ford's submarine flop K-19: The Widowmaker sunk a terrible 68% to $909,113 raising its cume to $32.9M. Paramount's $100M actioner looks to conclude its run with a poor $34M making it Ford's lowest-grossing summer movie in well over a decade. Disney's The Country Bears also continued to fall apart crumbling 74% this weekend to $824,211. The G-rated family comedy has collected just $14.3M to date and should finish with a $16M final.

The top ten films grossed $129.3M which was down 10% from last year when American Pie 2 opened at number one with $45.1M; but up 40% from 2000 when Hollow Man remained in the top spot with $13M.

Compared to projections, XXX debuted lower than my $55M forecast. Spy Kids 2 also opened below my $24M prediction while Blood Work bowed very close to my $8M projection.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on next weekend's new releases. In last week's survey, readers were asked how this summer's films have been compared to last summer's. Of 1,843 responses, 63% said Better, 16% thought Worse, and 21% said Same.

For reviews of XXX and Signs visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Blue Crush and The Adventures of Pluto Nash both open.

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

# Title Aug 9 - 11 Aug 2 - 4 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 XXX $ 44,506,103 3,374 1 $ 13,191 $ 44,506,103 Sony
2 Signs 29,454,603 60,117,080 -51.0 3,310 2 8,899 117,718,640 Buena Vista
3 Spy Kids 2 16,711,716 3,307 1 5,053 25,040,870 Miramax
4 Austin Powers in Goldmember 13,059,448 31,119,108 -58.0 3,508 3 3,723 167,779,791 New Line
5 Blood Work 7,312,413 2,525 1 2,896 7,312,413 Warner Bros.
6 The Master of Disguise 5,107,640 12,554,650 -59.3 2,568 2 1,989 23,762,214 Sony
7 Road to Perdition 4,203,196 6,600,143 -36.3 2,211 5 1,901 84,275,972 DreamWorks
8 My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3,133,316 3,002,241 4.4 723 17 4,334 45,063,979 IFC Films
9 Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat 3,124,258 7,374,049 -57.6 774 2 4,037 13,134,620 Paramount
10 Stuart Little 2 2,675,155 6,111,359 -56.2 2,382 4 1,123 53,001,249 Sony
11 Men in Black II 2,058,141 4,807,311 -57.2 2,076 6 991 186,461,835 Sony
12 K-19: The Widowmaker 909,113 2,854,111 -68.1 1,781 4 510 32,917,369 Paramount
13 The Country Bears 824,211 3,141,436 -73.8 1,260 3 654 14,325,406 Buena Vista
14 The Bourne Identity 810,955 1,602,155 -49.4 654 9 1,240 114,746,195 Universal
15 Minority Report 733,531 1,727,031 -57.5 678 8 1,082 128,157,396 Fox
16 Mr. Deeds 648,805 2,106,425 -69.2 877 7 740 122,822,244 Sony
17 Space Station 614,436 705,863 -13.0 61 17 10,073 19,144,118 Imax
18 The Crocodile Hunter 548,465 1,203,464 -54.4 922 5 595 26,783,584 MGM
19 Lilo & Stitch 483,540 1,358,317 -64.4 591 8 818 138,567,254 Buena Vista
20 Reign of Fire 403,975 1,566,807 -74.2 401 5 1,007 41,123,172 Buena Vista
Top 5 $ 111,044,283 $ 117,765,030 -5.7
Top 10 129,287,848 137,681,488 -6.1
Top 20 137,323,020 150,822,612 -9.0
Top 20 vs. 2001 137,323,020 154,116,955 -10.9

Last Updated : August 12, 2002 at 8:00PM EDT