Weekend Box Office (October 12 - 14, 2001)

THIS WEEKEND Three new releases could not steal away the box office crown from Denzel Washington's cop drama Training Day which spent its second straight weekend at number one. Adults looking for comedy pushed the new Bruce Willis film Bandits to a second place debut while teens in search of a laugh helped Corky Romano open in third place.

Despite global unrest and the threat of domestic terrorism, moviegoing remained virtually unaffected. The top ten films grossed a healthy $74M - up 5% from last year and up 9% from 1999. Adjusting for ticket price increases, overall admissions continued to stay normal for this time of year. In addition, many of the weekend's holdover pictures displayed strength declining by less than 35% from last weekend's holiday frame.

Warner Bros. held onto the top spot as Training Day grossed another $13.4M, according to final studio figures, suffering a moderate decline of 41%. After ten days of release, the R-rated film has taken in $43.4M and led all movies in the top ten with a per-theater average of $4,936. Produced for just under $50M, the gritty police saga should be able to reach $80-90M at the domestic box office. Training Day marks the seventh film in Washington's career to debut at number one and the first to remain in the top position for more than one week since Philadelphia in January 1994.

Debuting close behind in second place was MGM's bank robber comedy Bandits with a weekend haul of $13.1M. The PG-13 film was backed by the second widest launch ever in October with 3,207 theaters and averaged a so-so $4,069 per site. Only last Halloween's Blair Witch 2 debuted wider with 3,317 theaters. Bandits, which stars Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cate Blanchett, played primarily to an adult crowd with 75% of the audience being 25 or older and 54% being female, according to the studio's exit polls.

With an A-list star, an ultrawide release, and encouraging sneak previews last weekend, Bandits was expected by many industry watchers to open somewhat stronger. The $75M film earned a B grade from audiences polled by CinemaScore and witnessed a strong 45% Friday-to-Saturday increase. Reviews were mixed for Bandits, though many critics praised the performances of the actors.

The Touchstone Pictures comedy Corky Romano starring Saturday Night Live star Chris Kattan premiered in third place with $9M. The PG-13 film entered 2,062 theaters and averaged a good $4,376 per venue. Produced for only $11M, the slapstick comedy finds Kattan playing a bumbling veterinarian who goes undercover with the FBI to help save his mob boss father. Corky Romano played primarily to teens and young adults as 75% of the audience was under 25 and 55% was male, according to exit polls. "We reached the exact audience we were targeting," said Buena Vista distribution executive Rod Rodriguez.

Despite horrendous reviews, Corky Romano scored a B+ from CinemaScore audiences and opened at the same level as other fall comedies from SNL stars. In 1999, Molly Shannon's Superstar debuted with $8.9M on its way to $30.6M while 1998's A Night at the Roxbury, which starred Kattan and Will Ferrell, opened with $9.6M before reaching a final gross of $30.3M. Given the similar audiences, Corky Romano should follow the same path.

Dropping two spots to fourth place was Miramax's romantic comedy Serendipity with $8.8M in its second weekend. The John Cusack-Kate Beckinsale film slipped just 34% and raised its ten-day total to $26.4M. Produced for $28M, Serendipity should reach a domestic gross of $50-55M.

The Michael Douglas film Don't Say a Word performed well in its third weekend easing just 31% to $6.7M. Fox's crime thriller has collected a solid $41.7M in 17 days and looks to reach about $60M domestically.

Miramax kicked up a strong debut for its martial arts pickup Iron Monkey which grossed $6M despite playing in only 1,225 theaters. Originally produced in 1993, the PG-13 release generated the second best average in the top ten grossing $4,910 per location. With no major stars like Jackie Chan or Jet Li, Iron Monkey was promoted by Miramax as an action film directed by the fight choreographer of The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. As a result, Iron Monkey scored a better debut than recent Hong Kong films like Chan's The Legend of Drunken Master and Li's Black Mask which opened with $3.8M and $4.5M respectively.

Paramount's fashion industry comedy Zoolander fell sharply in its third weekend dropping 47% to $5M. Claiming seventh place, the Ben Stiller film has taken in $35.8M in 17 days. The teen thriller Joy Ride enjoyed a good hold in its sophomore weekend dipping 33% to $4.9M. The Fox release has grossed $14.7M in ten days and looks to reach $25-30M domestically.

Enjoying the lowest decline in the top ten, Disney's kidpic Max Keeble's Big Move eased just 25% to $4M to place ninth. The comedy is taking advantage of being the only family film in the marketplace and has raised its ten-day total to $10.9M. Max Keeble should find its way to $20-25M. Rounding out the top ten was the Anthony Hopkins drama Hearts in Atlantis which tumbled 46% to $2.7M giving the Warner Bros. release $20.7M to date.

David Lynch's latest film Mulholland Drive got off to a promising start with a limited-release debut of $587,591 from only 66 theaters for a powerful $8,903 average. Released by Universal Focus, the R-rated film played in 15 markets throughout the United States (the film opens in Canada on October 26) and delivered the best per-theater average among major releases. Sharing the directing prize at Cannes this year, Mulholland Drive has grossed $664,013 since its opening last Monday in New York. This Friday, the Los Angeles-based picture expands into 80 markets and approximately 200 theaters.

Three notable films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Two-time chart-topper Hardball dropped 34% to $2.3M raising its cume to $33.8M. Produced for $21M, Paramount's Keanu Reeves picture should find its way to $38-40M.

After spending nine long weeks in the top ten, Miramax's hit thriller The Others dropped 39% to $1.75M pushing its total to a stellar $93.2M. The $17M suspense picture has become Nicole Kidman's highest-grossing film (not counting 1995's Batman Forever in which she had a supporting role) and should finish with $98-100M from North America.

New Line's Rush Hour 2, the year's second biggest blockbuster, left the top ten after a terrific ten-week run and has watched its total domestic gross climb to a towering $223M. The comedy sequel sits at number 25 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters between 1997's The Lost World ($229.1M) and 1993's Mrs. Doubtfire ($219.2M). Rush Hour 2 looks to conclude its run with roughly $225M.

The top ten films grossed $73.6M which was up 5% from last year when Meet the Parents remained in the top spot with $21.2M; and up 9% from 1999 when Fight Club opened at number one with $11M.

Compared to projections, Bandits debuted a bit below my $15M forecast. Corky Romano and Iron Monkey both opened very close my respective predictions of $9M and $5M.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on which of next weekend's new films will have the best opening. Read the Weekly Rewind column which goes back to October 1989. For a review of Corky Romano visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Riding In Cars with Boys, From Hell, and The Last Castle all open.

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

# Title Oct 12 - 14 Oct 5 - 7 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Training Day $ 13,386,457 $ 22,550,788 -40.6 2,712 2 $ 4,936 $ 43,439,167 Warner Bros.
2 Bandits 13,050,700 3,207 1 4,069 13,050,700 MGM
3 Corky Romano 9,023,173 2,062 1 4,376 9,023,173 Buena Vista
4 Serendipity 8,766,356 13,309,241 -34.1 2,603 2 3,368 26,396,130 Miramax
5 Don't Say A Word 6,713,774 9,766,100 -31.3 2,729 3 2,460 41,716,926 Fox
6 Iron Monkey 6,014,653 1,225 1 4,910 6,014,653 Miramax
7 Zoolander 5,030,530 9,518,273 -47.1 2,522 3 1,995 35,757,275 Paramount
8 Joy Ride 4,905,863 7,347,259 -33.2 2,522 2 1,945 14,730,633 Fox
9 Max Keeble's Big Move 4,039,594 5,377,958 -24.9 2,045 2 1,975 10,933,046 Buena Vista
10 Hearts in Atlantis 2,711,469 5,024,920 -46.0 2,010 3 1,349 20,666,873 Warner Bros.
11 Hardball 2,348,310 3,566,255 -34.2 2,012 5 1,167 33,758,502 Paramount
12 The Others 1,750,321 2,844,616 -38.5 1,554 10 1,126 93,165,623 Miramax
13 Rush Hour 2 968,696 1,724,118 -43.8 1,012 11 957 223,003,057 New Line
14 Mulholland Drive 587,591 66 1 8,903 664,013 Universal
15 Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 572,737 818,196 -30.0 295 4 1,941 4,648,109 8X
16 Legally Blonde 432,082 483,663 -10.7 836 14 517 94,496,786 MGM
17 The Glass House 423,110 1,117,535 -62.1 685 5 618 17,387,693 Sony
18 The Princess Diaries 358,277 612,818 -41.5 581 11 617 105,905,979 Buena Vista
19 Jeepers Creepers 335,347 581,058 -42.3 655 7 512 37,232,875 MGM
20 American Pie 2 328,285 704,285 -53.4 490 10 670 143,774,509 Universal
Top 5 $ 50,940,460 $ 62,491,661 -18.5
Top 10 73,642,569 81,029,528 -9.1
Top 20 81,747,325 87,631,734 -6.7
Top 20 vs. 2000 81,747,325 78,314,566 4.4

Last Updated : October 15, 2001 at 10:00PM EDT