Weekend Box Office (August 10 - 12, 2001)

THIS WEEKEND The teen sex comedy American Pie 2 glued itself to the number one spot at the box office with a strong debut that helped keep the marketplace much busier than a year ago. Three other new films received mixed results but with a variety of popular holdover pictures in release, five different movies managed to gross over $10M each.

Universal's comedy sequel American Pie 2 took in a terrific $45.1M, according to final studio figures, over the weekend more than doubling the $18.7M debut of its 1999 predecessor. Playing in 3,063 theaters, the R-rated comedy averaged a stellar $14,730 per site. American Pie 2 generated the second biggest August opening ever after last weekend's Rush Hour 2 ($67.4M) and the second best debut for an R-rated film after last February's Hannibal ($58M).

Reuniting the cast of the $101.8M-grossing sleeper hit, American Pie 2 attracted slightly more women with 53% of the audience being female, according to a Universal spokesman. Moviegoers polled by CinemaScore gave the $30M gross-out flick an encouraging B+ grade.

For red hot Universal, American Pie 2 marked the studio's fourth consecutive $40M+ opening following The Mummy Returns, The Fast and the Furious, and Jurassic Park III. Plus, Universal vaulted past Paramount over the weekend to become the industry leader in box office sales with over $620M in grosses collected so far this year.

With a trio of moderate performers set for release on Friday, American Pie 2 could become the first film since Pearl Harbor to spend two weeks at number one. Studios have launched movies wider than ever this summer and have generated bigger opening weekend grosses as well as larger second-weekend declines. Fourteen films have debuted in over 3,000 theaters this season compared to only nine last summer and just six in the summer of 1999.

Continuing a summerlong pattern, the previous weekend's top film Rush Hour 2 fell sharply and took second place in its second weekend. New Line's action-comedy hit dropped 51% to $33.1M boosting the ten-day gross to a towering $133.5M. The Chris Tucker-Jackie Chan film crossed the $100M mark in only seven days and stands a good chance of reaching the $200M milestone as well.

Disney added 169 theaters to the run of its hit G-rated family comedy The Princess Diaries which grossed $14.2M in its second weekend. Off only 38%, the $26M makeover movie has taken in a radiant $52.1M in only ten days and should find its way to an impressive $90-100M.

Nicole Kidman scored a solid debut for her supernatural thriller The Others which opened in fourth place with a vibrant $14.1M. The Miramax release, which cost a reported $17M to produce, played in just 1,678 theaters and averaged a strong $8,397 per location. With no other horror films in the marketplace, The Others offered something different and was backed by critical praise. The PG-13 chiller opened much like Kidman's other recent films including this summer's Moulin Rouge ($13.7M) and 1998's Practical Magic ($13.1M). Both films went on to gross $45-50M. Miramax plans to expand The Others into 500 more theaters next weekend.

In its third weekend, Fox's sci-fi epic Planet of the Apes dropped 52% to $13.3M pushing its 17-day tally to $148.7M. Produced for just over $100M, the Tim Burton film looks to reach $170-180M in the domestic marketplace.

Following the apes were the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park III with $7.5M, down 39%, for a total of $160.4M thus far. Universal's $92M adventure film should finish with $175-185M from North America. The studio's decision to bet heavily on sequels this summer has paid off handsomely as Jurassic Park III, American Pie 2, and The Mummy Returns are set to bring in a staggering $1 billion in worldwide box office sales.

Warner Bros. witnessed a disappointing debut for its comedy Osmosis Jones which opened with a dismal $5.3M from 2,305 theaters. Averaging a dull $2,287 per site, the PG-13 film mixes live action with animation in telling the story of a blood cell and a virus battling each other inside of an unhealthy man's body. Osmosis Jones, which reportedly cost over $70M to produce, earned a B- CinemaScore grade and experienced a slim 3% Friday-to-Saturday increase. The season has been tough for Warner Bros. as for the first time in eleven years, the studio will not have a summer movie gross at least $100M.

Slipping to eighth place was Sony's romantic comedy America's Sweethearts with $4.4M, off 45%, bringing its total to $83.2M. MGM's law school comedy Legally Blonde dipped 36% to $3.8M for a gross to date of $78.7M. The studio's romantic thriller Original Sin plunged 52% in its second weekend to $3.1M giving the Antonio Banderas-Angelina Jolie picture a mere $12.5M in ten days.

Miramax brought back its spring blockbuster Spy Kids into theaters with added footage this weekend but met with indifference as the re-release grossed $1.6M from 1,676 theaters. Averaging a poor $941 per venue, the Robert Rodriguez adventure film nudged its total gross to $109.2M.

Fox Searchlight saw a strong debut for its drama The Deep End which opened in six New York and Los Angeles theaters with $141,852. The film's potent $23,642 average bodes well for its expansion on Friday into over 50 theaters before rolling out nationwide in over 200 theaters on August 24. The Deep End has grossed $198,293 since its Wednesday debut.

Three films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Paramount's action thriller The Score dipped 38% to $3M for a total of $62.4M. Robert De Niro's $68M heist picture is set to reach $70-75M.

Fox's family comedy Dr. Dolittle 2 fell 54% to $1.1M raising its cume to $108.6M. The $70M sequel should finish with roughly $110M. Cats and Dogs, another talking animal film aimed at kids, has grossed $89.5M after its sixth weekend. The $60M Warner Bros release looks to conclude with $91-93M.

Compared to projections, American Pie 2 debuted a few notches below my $48M forecast. The Others opened stronger than my $9M prediction while Osmosis Jones arrived with roughly half of my $10M projection.

The top ten films grossed $143.9M which was up a remarkable 56% from last year when Hollow Man remained in the top spot with $13M; and up 34% from 1999 when The Sixth Sense repeated at number one with $25.8M.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on the title of the new Star Wars film. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether Jackie Chan and Jet Li should play allies or enemies if they make a movie together. Of 3,480 responses, 54% said Enemies while 46% picked Allies.

Read the Weekly Rewind column which looks at second and third weekend declines for this summer's releases. For reviews of American Pie 2, The Others, and Spy Kids visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Captain Corelli's Mandolin, American Outlaws, and Rat Race all open.

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

# Title Aug 10 - 12 Aug 3 - 5 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 American Pie 2 $ 45,117,985 3,063 1 $ 14,730 $ 45,117,985 Universal
2 Rush Hour 2 33,117,312 67,408,222 -50.9 3,118 2 10,621 133,525,381 New Line
3 The Princess Diaries 14,216,447 22,862,269 -37.8 2,706 2 5,254 52,092,481 Buena Vista
4 The Others 14,089,952 1,678 1 8,397 14,089,952 Miramax
5 Planet of the Apes 13,302,881 27,535,697 -51.7 3,401 3 3,911 148,717,365 Fox
6 Jurassic Park III 7,524,975 12,272,810 -38.7 3,175 4 2,370 160,396,215 Universal
7 Osmosis Jones 5,271,248 2,305 1 2,287 5,271,248 Warner Bros.
8 America's Sweethearts 4,405,836 8,038,495 -45.2 2,686 4 1,640 83,247,240 Sony
9 Legally Blonde 3,774,114 5,851,309 -35.5 2,031 5 1,858 78,696,785 MGM
10 Original Sin 3,075,072 6,402,741 -52.0 2,194 2 1,402 12,517,699 MGM
11 The Score 3,034,032 4,863,222 -37.6 1,704 5 1,781 62,431,110 Paramount
12 Spy Kids : Special Edition 1,576,897 1,676 1 941 109,195,442 Miramax
13 Cats and Dogs 1,182,569 2,211,445 -46.5 1,357 6 871 89,515,391 Warner Bros.
14 The Fast and the Furious 1,085,925 2,130,305 -49.0 961 8 1,130 139,185,950 Universal
15 Dr. Dolittle 2 1,051,655 2,272,622 -53.7 1,030 8 1,021 108,581,351 Fox
16 Shrek 684,371 1,072,915 -36.2 703 13 974 259,456,747 DreamWorks
17 The Closet 427,421 411,060 4.0 147 7 2,908 4,012,824 Miramax
18 Made 424,022 600,098 -29.3 128 5 3,313 3,072,558 Artisan
19 Apocalypse Now Redux 383,838 96,992 295.7 19 2 20,202 561,026 Miramax
20 Scary Movie 2 370,403 1,182,865 -68.7 588 6 630 70,916,568 Miramax
Top 5 $ 119,844,577 $ 138,117,493 -13.2
Top 10 143,895,822 159,718,832 -9.9
Top 20 154,116,955 167,572,357 -8.0
Top 20 vs. 2000 154,116,955 103,010,283 49.6

Last Updated : August 13, 2001 at 8:15PM EDT

Written by Gitesh Pandya