Weekend Box Office (August 31 - September 3, 2001)

THIS WEEKEND Teens took a break from back-to-school shopping and lined up to see the new horror film Jeepers Creepers which opened at number one over the four-day Labor Day weekend knocking three-time box office champ American Pie 2 to third place. Jeepers Creepers grossed $15.8M over the Friday-to-Monday period, according to final studio figures, setting a new opening weekend record for the holiday frame beating 1996's The Crow : City of Angels which debuted with $9.8M over the four-day Labor Day session.

Distributed by MGM's United Artists unit, Jeepers Creepers played very wide in 2,944 theaters (also an all-time high for films opening over the holiday weekend) and averaged a sturdy $5,376. Produced for $10M, the R-rated thriller about two students driving home from college who encounter a hellish beast generated a poor D grade among moviegoers polled by CinemaScore indicating a rough ride ahead.

For the fourth consecutive weekend, New Line's Rush Hour 2 held the number two spot with $11.7M in its fifth lap. The action-comedy sequel has grossed a towering $198.9M to date and on Wednesday will become the year's third $200M grosser following Shrek and The Mummy Returns.

After three straight weeks on top, Universal's American Pie 2 slid to third place with $11M over the long weekend. The R-rated teen comedy has now boosted its cume to $124.9M. Miramax's supernatural thriller The Others added another 280 theaters and grossed $10.2M to hold steady in fourth place for the fourth consecutive weekend. The Nicole Kidman film's total has raced to $60M.

The road comedy Rat Race took in $9.2M to take fifth place giving the Paramount release a healthy $37.8M after 17 days. Disney's G-rated wonder The Princess Diaries collected $7.6M in its fifth weekend lifting its sum to a solid $92.9M.

Debuting in seventh place was the much-delayed high school drama O which opened with $6.9M from only 1,434 theaters. Averaging a solid $4,823 per location over four days, the Lions Gate release enjoyed the second best average in the top ten after Jeepers Creepers. Starring Mekhi Phifer, Julia Stiles, and Josh Hartnett, O was given several release dates by its original distributor Miramax before being sold to Lions Gate - a company that is no stranger to releasing controversy magnets with titles like American Psycho and Dogma. The R-rated film's subject matter, which includes brutal slayings by high school shooters, made it a difficult picture to release in the two years since the Columbine High School massacre.

Miramax's comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back tumbled to eighth place in its second weekend with $6.5M pushing its 11-day total to $22M. The baseball pic Summer Catch dropped in the standings to ninth with $4.9M giving the Warner Bros. release $14.4M after 11 days. Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz rounded out the top ten with the romantic drama Captain Corelli's Mandolin which grossed $3.9M in its third weekend lifting the total for the Universal title to $19.7M.

In a holiday weekend re-expansion, Buena Vista put its early summer guns Pearl Harbor and Atlantis back into wide release and collected some modest dollars. Pearl Harbor grossed $1.2M from 1,036 locations for a $1,124 average and a $196.7M cume. Atlantis took in $931,252 from 780 sites giving it a $1,194 average and a $82.4M total.

Two films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Fox's remake of Planet of the Apes fell to $3.8M over four days pushing its cume to a hefty $173.1M. Carrying a budget just north of $100M, the Tim Burton film looks to reach about $180M in North America. Sony's Ghosts of Mars crumbled in its second weekend taking in $2.1M giving the sci-fi actioner just $7.3M in 11 days. Produced for $28M, Ghosts should finish with a dismal $10M.

Compared to projections, Jeepers Creepers opened stronger than my $9M forecast while O was dead on with my $7M prediction.

The top ten films grossed $87.7M over the four-day holiday weekend which was up 26 percent from last year when Bring It On remained in the top spot with $14.2M; and up 7 percent from 1999 when The Sixth Sense held steady at number one for a fifth frame with $29.3M.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on this summer's movie season. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether or not they wanted to see an American Pie 3. Of 4,121 responses, 65% said Yes while 35% said No.

Read the Weekly Rewind column which reports on the top September openings. For a review of Jeepers Creepers visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Rock Star, The Musketeer, Two Can Play That Game, and Soul Survivors all open.

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

# Title Aug 31 - Sep 3 Aug 24 - 26 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Jeepers Creepers $ 15,831,700 2,944 1 $ 5,378 $ 15,831,700 MGM
2 Rush Hour 2 11,713,042 11,582,818 1.1 2,825 5 4,146 198,892,734 New Line
3 American Pie 2 11,011,104 12,517,475 -12.0 3,114 4 3,536 124,928,149 Universal
4 The Others 10,162,977 8,565,868 18.6 2,716 4 3,742 59,956,515 Miramax
5 Rat Race 9,154,416 8,110,038 12.9 2,551 3 3,589 37,771,073 Paramount
6 The Princess Diaries 7,590,086 6,602,516 15.0 2,690 5 2,822 92,861,530 Buena Vista
7 O 6,916,625 1,434 1 4,823 6,916,625 Lions Gate
8 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back 6,517,115 11,018,543 -40.9 2,765 2 2,357 21,977,799 Miramax
9 Summer Catch 4,912,347 7,018,593 -30.0 2,335 2 2,104 14,435,569 Warner Bros.
10 Captain Corelli's Mandolin 3,933,280 4,005,815 -1.8 1,612 3 2,440 19,653,610 Universal
11 Planet of the Apes 3,845,984 3,586,225 7.2 1,504 6 2,557 173,069,748 Fox
12 Jurassic Park III 2,320,285 2,413,515 -3.9 1,143 7 2,030 175,832,085 Universal
13 Ghosts of Mars 2,105,080 3,804,452 -44.7 2,048 2 1,028 7,307,616 Sony
14 The Curse of the Jade Scorpion 1,991,987 2,459,315 -19.0 909 2 2,191 5,324,129 DreamWorks
15 The Deep End 1,758,366 1,150,619 52.8 326 4 5,394 4,673,315 Fox Searchlight
16 Legally Blonde 1,730,424 1,471,614 17.6 878 8 1,971 88,552,416 MGM
17 America's Sweethearts 1,306,041 903,546 44.5 1,565 7 835 91,476,049 Sony
18 American Outlaws 1,303,476 2,026,733 -35.7 1,007 3 1,294 11,229,992 Warner Bros.
19 Bubble Boy 1,290,861 2,038,349 -36.7 1,605 2 804 4,211,321 Buena Vista
20 Pearl Harbor 1,164,650 75,852 1,036 15 1,124 196,656,492 Buena Vista
Top 5 $ 57,873,239 $ 51,740,742 11.9
Top 10 87,742,692 76,758,343 14.3
Top 20 106,559,846 91,720,392 16.2
Top 20 vs. 2000 106,559,846 93,131,407 14.4

Last Updated : September 4, 2001 at 8:30PM EDT

Written by Gitesh Pandya