Weekend Box Office (August 17 - 19, 2001)

THIS WEEKEND Universal's hit sequel American Pie 2 became the first film in nearly three months to spend two weekends at number one with a hearty $21.1M in ticket sales, according to final studio figures. Dropping a hefty 53%, the R-rated sex comedy played in 3,072 theaters and averaged a strong $6,870. After ten days of release, the $30M teen film has grossed an impressive $87.3M and should find its way to $140-150M domestically. American Pie 2 became the first film since May's Pearl Harbor to repeat in the top spot breaking a string of ten straight new releases that have all opened at number one.

Holding steady in second place was another comedy sequel, New Line's Rush Hour 2, which took in $19M in its third weekend. Off a respectable 43%, the Chris Tucker-Jackie Chan vehicle has pulled in a towering $164.7M after only 17 days. The $90M film should surpass the $200M mark in early September to become the year's second biggest film (after Shrek) as well as the highest-grossing picture in New Line history.

Of the weekend's three new releases, Paramount's road comedy Rat Race performed best grossing $11.7M. The PG-13 film opened in 2,550 locations and averaged a good $4,573 per site. Rat Race enjoyed a healthy 23% Friday-to-Saturday increase and scored a B+ with audiences polled by CinemaScore. According to a Paramount spokesperson, 60% of the moviegoers were male and the overall audience was split evenly between older and younger patrons.

Miramax added 475 more theaters to the run of the supernatural thriller The Others and enjoyed the smallest decline in the top ten dipping just 23% to $10.9M in its second weekend. The Nicole Kidman suspense picture averaged a sturdy $5,066 per theater and has collected a solid $32.2M in just ten days proving that the Australian actress can carry a film on her own. Rated PG-13, The Others was produced for a relatively modest price of $17M and should gross $60-70M.

Disney's The Princess Diaries dropped only 32% in its third weekend to $9.6M raising its total to a stellar $70.2M after only 17 days. With most macho action films suffering huge weekly declines this summer, female-led films like Diaries, The Others, and Legally Blonde have been among the rare few that have displayed strong legs.

Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz managed a mild $7.2M opening for Universal's wartime romance Captain Corelli's Mandolin which took sixth place. The R-rated drama played in just 1,594 theaters and averaged a decent $4,523 per venue. Mandolin earned an A- from CinemaScore and saw sales increase 20% on Saturday over Friday. A studio spokesperson stated that adult women were the strongest audience component, as expected. Reviews were mostly negative for the John Madden-directed picture which opened in the United Kingdom in May grossing over $13M in that market.

Tim Burton's new vision of Planet of the Apes dropped 46% to $7.1M in its fourth frame. The Fox blockbuster's total rose to $161.2M and is still on course to reach $175-180M.

Shooting blanks in eighth place was the western action film American Outlaws from Warner Bros. with $4.9M. The Jesse James tale played in 2,348 sites and made off with a poor $2,068 average.

Rounding out the top ten were Universal's Jurassic Park III and MGM's Legally Blonde with weekend grosses of $4.4M and $2.6M respectively. Totals now stand at $168.3M and $83.3M.

Three films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. The live action/animation hybrid Osmosis Jones tanked in its second weekend falling 53% to $2.5M putting its ten-day cume at only $10.3M. With a reported budget of over $70M, the Warner Bros. release looks to end its horrendous domestic run in the neighborhood of just $15M.

Sony's romantic comedy America's Sweethearts fell 48% to $2.3M giving it $87.8M to date. The $46M production should reach $92-94M in North America. The romantic thriller Original Sin has taken in $15.1M thus far and is set to conclude with a disappointing $16-18M for MGM.

Compared to projections, American Pie 2 and Rush Hour 2 were both close to my respective forecasts of $22M and $18M. Rat Race opened better than my $9M projection while Captain Corelli's Mandolin came in under my $11M prediction. American Outlaws debuted close to my $6M forecast.

The top ten films grossed $98.5M which was up 24% from last year when The Cell opened in the top spot with $17.5M; and up 17% from 1999 when The Sixth Sense repeated at number one for a third time with $24M.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on which of next weekend's new releases will have the biggest opening. In last week's survey, readers were asked their opinion on the title of the new Star Wars film. Of 4,327 responses, 25% said it was Good, 50% thought it was Bad, while 25% Didn't Care.

Read the UPDATED Weekly Rewind column which looks at second and third weekend declines for this summer's releases. For a review of Rat Race visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Ghosts of Mars, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Bubble Boy, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, and Summer Catch all open.

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

# Title Aug 17 - 19 Aug 10 - 12 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 American Pie 2 $ 21,104,656 $ 45,117,985 -53.2 3,072 2 $ 6,870 $ 87,280,760 Universal
2 Rush Hour 2 19,024,208 33,117,312 -42.6 3,080 3 6,177 164,656,828 New Line
3 Rat Race 11,662,094 2,550 1 4,573 11,662,094 Paramount
4 The Others 10,906,170 14,089,952 -22.6 2,153 2 5,066 32,168,706 Miramax
5 The Princess Diaries 9,614,307 14,216,447 -32.4 2,726 3 3,527 70,241,717 Buena Vista
6 Captain Corelli's Mandolin 7,209,345 1,594 1 4,523 7,209,345 Universal
7 Planet of the Apes 7,142,635 13,302,881 -46.3 3,059 4 2,335 161,238,071 Fox
8 American Outlaws 4,855,475 2,348 1 2,068 4,855,475 Warner Bros.
9 Jurassic Park III 4,440,740 7,524,975 -41.0 2,516 5 1,765 168,327,710 Universal
10 Legally Blonde 2,575,400 3,774,114 -31.8 1,770 6 1,455 83,345,846 MGM
11 Osmosis Jones 2,504,428 5,271,248 -52.5 2,305 2 1,087 10,256,555 Warner Bros.
12 America's Sweethearts 2,308,875 4,405,836 -47.6 1,948 5 1,185 87,761,031 Sony
13 The Score 1,820,842 3,034,032 -40.0 1,148 6 1,586 65,516,828 Paramount
14 Original Sin 1,112,692 3,075,072 -63.8 1,279 3 870 15,113,699 MGM
15 Dr. Dolittle 2 766,903 1,051,655 -27.1 730 9 1,051 109,910,106 Fox
16 Spy Kids : Special Edition 764,702 1,576,897 -51.5 1,202 2 636 110,844,040 Miramax
17 Cats and Dogs 692,861 1,182,569 -41.4 924 7 750 90,920,285 Warner Bros.
18 The Fast and the Furious 681,065 1,085,925 -37.3 671 9 1,015 140,434,410 Universal
19 The Deep End 641,051 141,852 351.9 58 2 11,053 984,958 Fox Searchlight
20 Shrek 538,767 684,371 -21.3 561 14 960 260,444,228 DreamWorks
Top 5 $ 72,311,435 $ 119,844,577 -39.7
Top 10 98,535,030 143,895,822 -31.5
Top 20 110,367,216 154,116,955 -28.4
Top 20 vs. 2000 110,367,216 94,948,463 16.2

Last Updated : August 20, 2001 at 8:15PM EDT

Written by Gitesh Pandya