Weekend Box Office (August 22 - 24, 2003)

THIS WEEKEND Horror legends Freddy and Jason presided over the summer's worst box office frame as ticket sales dipped to their lowest point since April. Jackie Chan's action film The Medallion led a trio of mostly unremarkable new releases while several holdovers experienced small declines in the top ten.

Freddy vs. Jason plunged 64% in its second weekend but still remained the number one film with $13.2M, according to final studio figures, making it the first movie to spend back-to-back weekends at the top since X2: X-Men United which kicked off the summer season in early May. New Line's $30M horror hit has hacked up $61.2M in ten days and is headed for the vicinity of $90M. Freddy did however generate the second lowest gross for a number one film this year trailing January's Darkness Falls which ruled its frame with only $12M.

In its third round, Sony's cop thriller S.W.A.T. shot up $10.6M, off 42%, and raised its total to $87.8M. Kevin Costner's Open Range dipped only 33% in its second weekend and collected $9.5M pushing its ten-day cume to $29.3M. The R-rated action drama should find its way to $55-60M making it the actor's highest-grossing film since 1995's Waterworld which took in $88.2M domestically. Disney's Freaky Friday took fourth place with $9.3M, down 31%, and raised its sum to a stellar $74.4M.

Jackie Chan's new action pic The Medallion premiered in fifth place with a mild $8.1M from 2,648 theaters. Averaging $3,063 per site, the PG-13 film about a Hong Kong cop who gains super powers from a medallion also stars Claire Forlani.

The high seas blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean continued to hold up well easing just 21% to $7.3M for a total of $260.9M. The Disney smash now sits at number 22 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters trailing the $262M of last year's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Pirates is still on course to surpass the $279M of The Matrix Reloaded to become the second biggest film released this summer after Disney's own Finding Nemo which has grossed $329.8M to date.

Universal's hit drama Seabiscuit dipped just 24% to $6.2M in its fifth lap and boosted its cume to $92.9M. Dropping 50% in its second weekend, MGM's comedy Uptown Girls took in $5.6M for a ten-day cume of $22.3M. Produced for just under $20M, the Brittany Murphy pic should find its way to roughly $36M. The comedy sequel American Wedding fell 35% to an estimated $5.5M and lifted the tally of the Universal title to $90.5M.

Opening in tenth place with weak results was the Ashton Kutcher-Tara Reid comedy My Boss's Daughter with $4.9M. The Miramax release averaged only $2,206 from 2,201 theaters.

Showing up as a small blip on the box office radar was Paramount's rap music comedy Marci X which debuted poorly to $872,950 from 1,200 theaters. The R-rated pic averaged an embarrassing $727 per theater and suffered the worst opening for a wide release this year. The studio invested very little in marketing and distribution so the dismal showing was expected.

Debuting to sparkling results in limited release was Fox Searchlight's teen angst pic Thirteen which grossed $116,260 from only five theaters for a robust $23,252 per venue. The R-rated entry played in New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto and has collected $139,860 since Wednesday. This Friday, Thirteen expands into 50-60 theaters for the Labor Day holiday period.

The latest Project Greenlight film The Battle of Shaker Heights opened well with $47,693 from only five sites giving the Miramax release a solid $9,539 average.

Two summer sequels aimed at different age groups fell from the top ten over the weekend. Miramax's Spy Kids 3-D dropped 47% to $2.8M for a total of $102.3M making the Robert Rodriguez adventure film the 15th film this year to cross the century mark. With a budget of $40M, the PG-rated pic should finish with about $110M. The Sony actioner Bad Boys II fell 35% to $2M giving it $132.3M to date. A $138M final seems likely for the big-budget entry.

The top ten films grossed $80M which was up 12% from last year when Signs reclaimed number one with $14.3M; and up 4% from 2001 when American Pie 2 stayed in the top spot for the third straight time with $12.5M.

Compared to projections, The Medallion opened on target with my $8M forecast. My Boss's Daughter debuted above my $3M prediction, while Marci X came in below my $3M projection.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on Jeepers Creepers 2. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether Arnold Schwarzenegger will win his election bid for Governor of California. Of 3,052 responses, 71% voted Yes while 29% said No.

For reviews of Freddy vs. Jason and Green Card Fever visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Jeepers Creepers 2 opens over Labor Day weekend to end the summer box office.

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

# Title Aug 22 - 24 Aug 15 - 17 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Freddy vs. Jason $ 13,152,967 $ 36,428,066 -63.9 3,014 2 $ 4,364 $ 61,197,607 New Line
2 S.W.A.T. 10,581,327 18,122,486 -41.6 3,204 3 3,303 87,847,065 Sony
3 Open Range 9,481,315 14,047,781 -32.5 2,163 2 4,383 29,317,253 Buena Vista
4 Freaky Friday 9,304,643 13,434,285 -30.7 3,058 3 3,043 74,431,693 Buena Vista
5 The Medallion 8,111,324 2,648 1 3,063 8,111,324 Sony
6 Pirates of the Caribbean 7,275,447 9,167,599 -20.6 2,404 7 3,026 260,925,697 Buena Vista
7 Seabiscuit 6,170,290 8,087,670 -23.7 2,534 5 2,435 92,936,230 Universal
8 Uptown Girls 5,606,943 11,277,367 -50.3 2,495 2 2,247 22,318,159 MGM
9 American Wedding 5,464,405 8,402,760 -35.0 2,467 4 2,215 90,515,725 Universal
10 My Boss's Daughter 4,855,798 2,201 1 2,206 4,855,798 Miramax
11 Spy Kids 3-D 2,790,690 5,288,540 -47.2 2,429 5 1,149 102,275,880 Miramax
12 Bad Boys II 2,031,469 3,143,914 -35.4 1,202 6 1,690 132,324,611 Sony
13 Lara Croft Tomb Raider II 1,503,624 2,786,977 -46.0 1,272 5 1,182 62,007,286 Paramount
14 Le Divorce 1,368,317 942,594 45.2 422 3 3,242 3,558,534 Fox Searchlight
15 Finding Nemo 1,038,919 1,358,901 -23.5 838 13 1,240 329,790,041 Buena Vista
16 Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle 1,004,457 1,980,432 -49.3 542 9 1,853 99,518,415 Sony
17 Marci X 872,950 1,200 1 727 872,950 Paramount
18 Grind 818,330 2,511,403 -67.4 2,253 2 363 4,522,077 Warner Bros.
19 Dirty Pretty Things 691,098 557,263 24.0 240 6 2,880 2,948,667 Miramax
20 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 660,077 593,487 11.2 422 7 1,564 64,518,187 Fox
Top 5 $ 50,631,576 $ 93,309,985 -45.7
Top 10 80,004,459 127,400,468 -37.2
Top 20 92,784,390 140,353,515 -33.9
Top 20 vs. 2002 92,784,390 83,371,206 11.3

Last Updated : August 25, 2003 at 7:30PM EDT

Written by Gitesh Pandya

Gitesh Pandya can be seen each Friday on "The Biz" airing at 12:30pm and 9:30pm ET on CNNfn.