Weekend Box Office (August 11 - 13, 2000)

THIS WEEKEND Sony and Warner Bros. saw nearly identical sales for their sophomore films Hollow Man and Space Cowboys, respectively, which each grossed about $13M over the Friday-to-Sunday span leading a decelerating box office. Hollow Man edged out the victory with $13.05M compared to Space Cowboys' $13.02M becoming the first movie since May's Mission: Impossible 2 to spend two weekends at number one.

Watching over half of its audience disappear, Hollow Man dropped a sharp 51% in its second weekend but raised its ten-day cume to a solid $50.3M. The Sony release averaged $4,414 in each of 2,956 theaters and may still approach $80-85M despite its heavy sophomore fall. Director Paul Verhoeven's last special effects bonanza, 1997's Starship Troopers, also tumbled in its second weekend dropping 55%.

On the other hand, Space Cowboys enjoyed the smallest decline in the top ten slipping just 28%. The Warner Bros. release averaged $4,591 in 2,835 venues and pushed its ten-day sum to $39M. Also starring Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner, and Donald Sutherland, the astronaut adventure could display strong legs in the weeks ahead and watch its domestic cume soar to $80-90M. The success of Space Cowboys comes as welcome news to Eastwood whose recent directorial efforts like True Crime, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and A Perfect World all became box office duds.

Premiering in third place was the football comedy The Replacements with $11.04M from 2,754 theaters for a mild $4,008 average. Keanu Reeves led a cast of wannabe gridiron heroes who get their big shot when professional players go on strike. Also starring Gene Hackman, The Replacements had ample support from Warner Bros. which spent heavily to market the comedy and held sneak previews on two Saturdays before releasing the film nationally.

MGM opened the romantic drama Autumn in New York, starring Richard Gere and Winona Ryder, and took in $10.99M for a close fourth place finish. The picture opened in 2,255 theaters and delivered the best average in the top ten with $4,872 per site. According to the studio's distribution chief Larry Gleason, Autumn in New York played best with adult women as 70% of the audience was female and 60% were over 25. "We knew there wasn't too much competition for our target audience and wanted to take advantage of the opportunity plus give us some space from What Lies Beneath," Gleason stated. Produced for $40M, MGM picked up domestic rights for $14M. Autumn in New York was not screened for critics before release and, not surprisingly, increased just 8% on Saturday - a low rate for an adult-skewing romance. However, the studio did enjoy its biggest opening of the year.

Overall, the box office is suffering the kind of weakness typical of late summer when the studios release their least potent titles in hopes of grabbing a few quicks bucks before students return to school. However, the marketplace did show exceptional breadth as the top five films were separated by less than $3M. Instead of one big movie grabbing the attention of moviegoers, a selection of diverse options is allowing dollars to be evenly distributed across the board.

Dropping another 44% in its third weekend, Eddie Murphy's comedy sequel Nutty Professor II took in $10.2M for fifth place. The Universal release has now grossed $94M in 17 days and should cross the $100M mark next weekend. Harrison Ford continues to see consistently strong sales for his suspense thriller What Lies Beneath which slid only 30% to $9.7M. With $112M in the bank, the DreamWorks/Fox co-production has made Ford the only actor to star in $100M blockbusters in each of the last four decades.

The new supernatural thriller Bless the Child opened in seventh place with $9.4M. Kim Basinger stars as a woman who protects a young girl possessed with unusual powers. Paramount launched the film very wide in 2,524 theaters and averaged a disappointing $3,730 average. Females outnumbered males by a small margin and 45% of the audience was over 25, according to the studio. Saturday sales increased a moderate 13% over Friday. Despite winning an Oscar for 1997's L.A. Confidential, Basinger still has not found much commercial success in recent years.

Jerry Bruckheimer's heavily-hyped bartender flick Coyote Ugly suffered the worst decline in the top ten crumbling 55% to $7.8M. With $34.3M in ten days, the comedic drama might reach $50-55M.

Two of the summer's biggest films rounded out the top ten. X-Men declined 39% to $4.1M giving the Fox release $143.9M thus far. The Perfect Storm dropped just 31% to $2.7M for a ferocious $170.5M cume.

In limited release, Artisan Entertainment saw an encouraging start for the John Waters film Cecil B. Demented which grossed $127,141 from nine theaters for a solid $14,127 average.

Three pictures dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Scary Movie, the surprise hit of the summer, grossed $2.5M pushing its blockbuster total to a robust $144.8M. Miramax's spoof comedy cost just $19M to produce but will eventually end its domestic run with over $150M making it the distributor's top-grossing movie ever.

Disney's The Kid slipped to $1.9M raising its cume to $62.1M. The Bruce Willis family comedy should find its way to $65-70M. Mel Gibson's Revolutionary War tale The Patriot collected $1.5M giving the action pic $108.4M to date. With a reported production budget of $70-100M, Sony's summer tentpole title is likely to end its domestic campaign with nearly $115M.

The top ten films over the weekend grossed $92.2M which was down 14% from last year when The Sixth Sense remained on top with $25.8M; but up 14% from 1998 when Saving Private Ryan spent its fourth weekend at number one with $13.2M.

Compared to projections, Autumn in New York and Bless the Child both opened very close to my respective forecasts of $12M and $9M. The Replacements debuted below my prediction of $16M.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on this Friday's three new releases. In last week's survey, readers were asked which of four films, already released this year, should get an Oscar nomination for Best Picture of 2000. Of 1,855 responses, 54% picked Gladiator, 25% voted for Erin Brockovich, 14% selected Wonder Boys, and 8% chose Chicken Run.

Be sure to read the Weekly Rewind column which reports on the biggest openings in the month of August. For reviews of Space Cowboys and Hollow Man visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Cell, The Original Kings of Comedy, and Godzilla 2000 all attack theaters.

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

# Title Aug. 11 - 13 Aug. 4 - 6 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Hollow Man $ 13,048,132 $ 26,414,386 -50.6 2,956 2 $ 4,414 $ 50,304,216 Sony
2 Space Cowboys 13,016,448 18,093,776 -28.1 2,835 2 4,591 39,023,971 Warner Bros.
3 The Replacements 11,039,214 2,754 1 4,008 11,039,214 Warner Bros.
4 Autumn in New York 10,987,006 2,255 1 4,872 10,987,006 MGM/UA
5 Nutty Professor II 10,223,430 18,166,965 -43.7 3,251 3 3,145 93,986,150 Universal
6 What Lies Beneath 9,736,764 13,808,388 -29.5 2,925 4 3,329 112,004,876 DreamWorks
7 Bless the Child 9,413,684 2,524 1 3,730 9,413,684 Paramount
8 Coyote Ugly 7,847,094 17,319,282 -54.7 2,664 2 2,946 34,261,478 Buena Vista
9 X-Men 4,136,463 6,762,378 -38.8 2,145 5 1,928 143,918,535 Fox
10 The Perfect Storm 2,747,779 3,976,870 -30.9 1,938 7 1,418 170,483,052 Warner Bros.
11 Scary Movie 2,526,102 4,248,067 -40.5 1,944 6 1,299 144,790,572 Miramax
12 The Kid 1,859,629 2,989,675 -37.8 1,517 6 1,226 62,127,599 Buena Vista
13 The Patriot 1,454,323 2,317,507 -37.2 1,252 7 1,162 108,357,881 Sony
14 Chicken Run 1,317,943 1,878,525 -29.8 1,314 8 1,003 99,903,419 DreamWorks
15 Thomas and the Magic Railroad 1,154,322 2,027,042 -43.1 1,502 3 769 13,282,806 Destination
16 Pokémon 2000 1,032,484 2,119,065 -51.3 1,423 4 726 40,703,929 Warner Bros.
17 Big Momma's House 402,751 492,734 -18.3 456 11 883 114,563,508 Fox
18 Me, Myself, and Irene 372,812 560,525 -33.5 456 8 818 88,150,281 Fox
19 Saving Grace 351,066 287,452 22.1 35 2 10,030 781,148 Fine Line
20 Gladiator 342,837 493,925 -30.6 338 15 1,014 181,632,938 DreamWorks
Top 5 $ 58,314,230 $ 93,802,797 -37.8
Top 10 92,196,014 114,097,294 -19.2
Top 20 103,010,283 123,625,244 -16.7
Top 20 vs. 1999 103,010,283 121,820,555 -15.4

Last Updated : August 14 at 9:00PM EDT

Written by Gitesh Pandya