Weekend Box Office (October 5 - 7, 2001)
THIS WEEKEND Denzel Washington scored the best opening of his career, and the second biggest October debut ever, with his acclaimed police drama Training Day which nabbed $22.6M, according to final studio figures, to lead the North American box office to a record Columbus Day weekend. The Warner Bros. release busted into 2,712 theaters and averaged an arresting $8,315 per site. Directed by Antoine Fuqua (The Replacement Killers), Training Day stars Washington as a narcotics cop on the wrong side of the law who takes a rookie cop (played by Ethan Hawke) under his wing.
The studio delayed the opening of the R-rated picture from its September 21st date in order to promote it properly as last month's terrorist attacks made it difficult to advertise or promote any film effectively at the time. Training Day witnessed a healthy Friday-to-Saturday increase of 22% and earned a B+ from moviegoers polled by CinemaScore. This bodes well for the gritty drama which surpassed the $20.9M bow of last year's Remember the Titans to become the best opener of Washington's career. Training Day's debut ranks second among movies premiering in the month of October behind Universal's comedy Meet the Parents which arrived with $28.6M this weekend a year ago.
Warner Bros. distribution president Dan Fellman expects the film to hold on very well and attributes the stellar opening to "great reviews, a terrific performance from Denzel, and savvy marketing." Training Day played mostly to adults as 75% of the audience was over 25 while 52% were female. Critics are already tossing around Washington's name as a major Oscar contender for his sinister role.
Enjoying a solid second place premiere was Miramax's romantic comedy Serendipity, starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, which grossed $13.3M. The PG-13 film entered 2,601 theaters and averaged a rosy $5,117. The Manhattan-set picture offered a lighthearted alternative to the darker films currently playing in multiplexes and performed especially well with females and the date crowd. The road ahead looks promising as CinemaScore audiences gave Serendipity a B+ while Saturday sales increased an encouraging 25% over Friday.
Last weekend's number one film, the Michael Douglas thriller Don't Say a Word, dropped an acceptable 43% to third place with $9.8M in its second weekend. The Fox release has grossed $31.9M in ten days and should be able to collect $60-65M domestically.
Also in its second weekend, Paramount's Zoolander experienced a slightly lower 39% decline giving the Ben Stiller comedy $9.5M. The PG-13 film has taken in $28.3M after ten days and looks to reach $55-60M.
Fox's teen thriller Joy Ride opened in fifth place with $7.3M from 2,497 theaters. Averaging a weak $2,942 per site, the R-rated film stars Paul Walker, Steve Zahn, and Leelee Sobieski as a trio of young people terrorized by a trucker seeking revenge. Joy Ride earned a B+ grade from CinemaScore audiences and will face a string of other thrillers opening in theaters in the coming weeks as Halloween approaches.
Another new revenge-themed film, Disney's family entry Max Keeble's Big Move, made a quiet debut in sixth place with a mild $5.4M opening. The comedy about a boy who seeks retribution on bullies before moving to another town played in 2,014 theaters and averaged a soft $2,670 per venue. As expected for a family film released during the school year, the majority of business came from Saturday and Sunday matinee shows.
Anthony Hopkins' inspirational drama Hearts in Atlantis dropped to seventh place with $5M in its second weekend. Warner Bros. added 259 theaters to the film's run and witnessed a 44% decline. Hearts in Atlantis has grossed $16.4M in ten days and looks to reach about $30M.
The Keanu Reeves baseball film Hardball slid 31% to $3.6M placing eighth with a total gross of $30.6M. The suspense thriller The Others followed in ninth with $2.8M, off 41%, putting its cume at $90.6M. New Line's Rush Hour 2 rounded out the top ten with $1.7M, down 31%, giving the New Line sequel a towering $221.5M after its tenth weekend.
Four films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Sony's suspense thriller The Glass House fell 47% to $1.1M to boost its cume to $16.7M. The $22M film should find its way to about $20M. Rat Race tumbled 50% to $844,929 to lift its total to $55.3M. The Paramount comedy should finish with roughly $57M. Universal's The Musketeer and Sony's Two Can Play That Game have reached $26.6M and $21.6M, respectively, after their fifth weekends.
Compared to projections, Training Day opened a bit better than my $20M forecast while Serendipity debuted below my $17M prediction. Joy Ride opened a bit below my $9M projection while Max Keeble's Big Move was very close to my $6M forecast.
The top ten films grossed $81M which was up 10% from last year when Meet the Parents opened in the top spot with $28.6M; and up 5% from 1999 when Double Jeopardy remained at number one with $13.5M.
Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on Will Smith's Ali. Read the Weekly Rewind column which goes back to October 1989. For a review of Training Day visit The Chief Report.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Bandits, Corky Romano, and Iron Monkey all open.
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|#||Title||Oct 5 - 7||Sep 28 - 30||% Chg.||Theaters||Weeks||AVG||Cumulative||Dist.|
|1||Training Day||$ 22,550,788||2,712||1||$ 8,315||$ 22,550,788||Warner Bros.|
|3||Don't Say A Word||9,766,100||17,090,474||-42.9||2,842||2||3,436||31,933,981||Fox|
|6||Max Keeble's Big Move||5,377,958||2,014||1||2,670||5,377,958||Buena Vista|
|7||Hearts in Atlantis||5,024,920||9,021,494||-44.3||2,010||2||2,500||16,443,261||Warner Bros.|
|10||Rush Hour 2||1,724,118||2,484,904||-30.6||1,549||10||1,113||221,526,192||New Line|
|11||The Glass House||1,117,535||2,106,341||-46.9||1,511||4||740||16,662,051||Sony|
|13||Megiddo: The Omega Code 2||818,196||1,022,745||-20.0||338||3||2,421||3,870,823||8X|
|14||American Pie 2||704,285||1,505,440||-53.2||854||9||825||143,232,679||Universal|
|15||The Princess Diaries||612,818||1,253,822||-51.1||1,001||10||612||105,318,558||Buena Vista|
|17||Two Can Play That Game||555,274||1,628,848||-65.9||653||5||850||21,609,586||Sony|
|Top 5||$ 62,491,661||$ 51,579,116||21.2|
|Top 20 vs. 2000||87,631,734||80,567,959||8.8|
This column is updated three times each week : Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Data source : Exhibitor Relations, EDI. Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated : October 8, 2001 at 10:45PM EDT