Weekend Box Office (September 21 - 23, 2001)

THIS WEEKEND Taking a cue from the stock markets, the North American box office slumped to a new 52-week low this weekend as the only new wide release, Mariah Carey's Glitter, debuted poorly outside of the top ten. The uplifting baseball picture Hardball held the top spot once again while holdover films suffered only mild declines in the face of new no competition.

Retaining first place for the second consecutive weekend, Paramount's Hardball grossed $8.1M, according to final studio figures, and slipped just 14%. Good word-of-mouth and a lack of films aimed at kids helped Keanu Reeves' little league picture stay ahead of the curve as its ten-day tally hit $19.3M. The Speed star repeated his performance from last year when his thriller The Watcher also topped two weak September weekends. Produced for $21M, Hardball should find its way to $45-55M domestically.

A more impressive feat occured in second place as Miramax's hit suspense film The Others reached the highest chart position of its seven-week run with a gross of $5.1M. The Nicole Kidman film saw its take increase a terrific 11% from last weekend which boosted the PG-13 thriller's overall total to $80.1M. The Others opened in mid-August in fourth place where it stayed for four straight weeks before slipping to fifth for the last two frames. Rock solid word-of-mouth continues to bring in new and repeat sales alike. The Others now has its sights set on the $100M mark which it could reach if it can fend off competition from a number of promising titles opening in the coming weeks.

Slipping a notch to third was Sony's The Glass House which collected $4.4M, off 23%, giving it $11.7M after its second weekend. The $22M thriller looks to reach $20-25M. Universal's The Musketeer followed in fourth with $3.5M, down 35%, giving the adventure tale $22.7M after 17 days. The year's second biggest blockbuster, Rush Hour 2, eased just 14% to $3.5M putting the total for the New Line smash at $215.6M.

Sony's Two Can Play That Game dipped 30% to $3.2M giving the romantic comedy $18.2M after its third weekend. Dropping just 17%, Rat Race grossed $2.9M in its sixth weekend pushing the total for the Paramount comedy to $51.5M.

The Warner Bros. film Rock Star placed eighth with $2.9M putting its 17-day total at $15.1M. The weekend take included grosses from the Friday and Saturday sneak previews of the studio's Hearts in Atlantis which helped Rock Star's figure decline by only 13%. Warner Bros. reported strong results from the sneaks with screenings at 85% capacity and a very high 94% stating that the Anthony Hopkins film was "excellent" or "very good." Females made up 53% of the audience. Hearts in Atlantis opens this Friday in roughly 1,700 theaters.

The teen slasher film Jeepers Creepers fell 28% to $2.8M giving the MGM release $33.6M to date. Universal's blockbuster sequel American Pie 2 rounded out the top ten taking in $2.7M, off 25%, which lifted its overall tally to $139.7M.

Pop singer Mariah Carey's feature film debut Glitter flopped over the weekend selling a pitiful $2.4M in tickets. Playing moderately wide in 1,202 theaters, the Fox release averaged a dull $2,009 per venue. Studio distribution chief Bruce Snyder called the opening "disappointing" and moviegoers concurred as the story of the rise of a pop diva scored a C grade from CinemaScore audiences. Fox paid $8.5M for domestic distribution rights plus print and advertising costs. Originally called All That Glitters, the Mariah Carey film was delayed from its August 31 release date after the singer was admitted to the hospital for emotional distress and could not be available to promote the movie.

The Armageddon-themed thriller Megiddo : The Omega Code 2 opened well in limited release with $1.6M from only 314 locations. Its per-theater average of $5,011 bested those of every wide release in the marketplace. Distributed by 8X Entertainment, Megiddo used a grassroots approach to its release recruiting volunteers and church workers to help generate ticket sales. The Omega Code debuted in October 1999 with $2.4M from 304 theaters for a more potent $7,745 average and went on to gross $12.6M by the end of its run.

The sluggish box office is expected to receive a much-needed jolt next weekend with the openings of three star-driven films. Paramount releases the Ben Stiller comedy Zoolander, Fox adds the Michael Douglas thriller Don't Say A Word, and Warner Bros. launches the Anthony Hopkins drama Hearts in Atlantis hoping to benefit from this weekend's sneak previews.

Compared to projections, Glitter opened with half the $5M forecast I expected.

The top ten films grossed $39.2M which was down 12% from last year when Urban Legends: Final Cut opened in the top spot with $8.5M; and down 43% from 1999 when Double Jeopardy debuted at number one with $23.2M.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on which of next weekend's new films will have the best opening. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether they were more excited to see Monsters, Inc. or Harry Potter. Of 2,197 responses, 54% said Monsters, Inc. while 46% picked Harry Potter.

Read the Weekly Rewind column which looks back at the summer box office with a Top 20 chart of projected final grosses. For a review of The Glass House visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Zoolander, Don't Say A Word, and Hearts in Atlantis all open.

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

# Title Sep 21 - 23 Sep 14 - 16 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Hardball $ 8,058,338 $ 9,386,342 -14.1 2,210 2 $ 3,646 $ 19,280,569 Paramount
2 The Others 5,083,004 4,574,678 11.1 2,801 7 1,815 80,084,619 Miramax
3 The Glass House 4,407,767 5,738,448 -23.2 1,591 2 2,770 11,661,890 Sony
4 The Musketeer 3,549,955 5,471,960 -35.1 2,500 3 1,420 22,671,145 Universal
5 Rush Hour 2 3,520,978 4,092,375 -14.0 2,129 8 1,654 215,615,683 New Line
6 Two Can Play That Game 3,212,217 4,604,843 -30.2 1,308 3 2,456 18,188,869 Sony
7 Rat Race 2,939,170 3,553,183 -17.3 2,417 6 1,216 51,524,950 Paramount
8 Rock Star 2,933,530 3,388,545 -13.4 2,162 3 1,357 15,125,632 Warner Bros.
9 Jeepers Creepers 2,774,511 3,844,246 -27.8 2,576 4 1,077 33,565,670 MGM
10 American Pie 2 2,688,600 3,601,440 -25.3 2,117 7 1,270 139,657,509 Universal
11 Glitter 2,414,596 1,202 1 2,009 2,414,596 Fox
12 The Princess Diaries 1,948,295 2,489,837 -21.8 1,988 8 980 102,573,608 Buena Vista
13 Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 1,573,454 314 1 5,011 1,573,454 8X
14 Legally Blonde 1,327,441 764,611 73.6 1,304 11 1,018 92,127,850 MGM
15 O 945,946 1,457,564 -35.1 1,012 4 935 14,404,447 Lions Gate
16 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back 870,347 1,440,961 -39.6 1,023 5 851 29,235,953 Miramax
17 Captain Corelli's Mandolin 821,735 1,064,575 -22.8 1,103 6 745 24,638,080 Universal
18 Summer Catch 668,182 1,006,523 -33.6 1,104 5 605 19,037,255 Warner Bros.
19 Planet of the Apes 662,939 938,214 -29.3 772 9 859 177,228,567 Fox
20 Shrek 662,761 400,726 65.4 1,018 19 651 264,752,789 DreamWorks
Top 5 $ 24,620,042 $ 29,776,271 -17.3
Top 10 39,168,070 48,256,060 -18.8
Top 20 51,063,766 59,498,383 -14.2
Top 20 vs. 2000 51,063,766 54,889,077 -7.0

Last Updated : September 24, 2001 at 8:45PM EDT

Written by Gitesh Pandya