Weekend Box Office (October 26 - 28, 2001)

THIS WEEKEND Aliens and haunted houses ruled the box office during the weekend before Halloween as Universal's science fiction drama K-Pax and the Warner Bros. horror film Thirteen Ghosts both enjoyed solid openings. Singing sensations Snoop Dogg and Lance Bass of N'Sync failed to glitter in their feature film debuts as their respective pictures Bones and On the Line met with modest grosses. The overall marketplace remained strong as ticket sales once again topped year-ago numbers indicating that recent anthrax scares have not caused any detectable effect on moviegoing.

Two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey anchored his first number one opening ever with K-Pax which launched with $17.2M according to final studio figures. The Universal release about a psychiatric patient who insists that he's from a distant planet invaded 2,541 theaters and averaged a strong $6,775 per site. The opening stands as the third best in the month of October behind last year's Meet the Parents ($28.6M) and this year's Training Day ($22.6M). Spacey previously hit the top spot with supporting roles in Outbreak, Seven, A Time to Kill, as well as the animated film A Bug's Life, but K-Pax marks his first number one debut while in the driver's seat.

K-Pax, which also stars Jeff Bridges, played mostly to adult audiences and performed evenly with males and females according to demographic data released by the studio. The PG-13 film's healthy Friday-to-Saturday increase of 21% and B+ grade with CinemaScore audiences bode well for the picture's future prospects.

For Universal, which leads all studios in year-to-date market share, the $48M film represents the company's sixth release of 2001 to premiere at the top of the box office charts. The studio will have to fight to preserve its industry lead as its only remaining wide release this year is the Robert Redford-Brad Pitt picture Spy Game which opens over Thanksgiving weekend. With Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Ocean's Eleven on the horizon, Warner Bros. plans to make a strong holiday season run to unseat Universal for the market share crown.

Opening well in second place was the haunted house pic Thirteen Ghosts starring Shannon Elizabeth and Matthew Lillard with $15.2M. Scaring audiences in 2,781 locations, the R-rated chiller averaged a solid $5,453 per theater. The Warner Bros. release played primarily to older teens and young adults looking for a frightfest on the weekend leading up to Halloween. Produced for under $20M, Thirteen Ghosts performed much like the studio's previous collaboration with Dark Castle Entertainment, 1999's The House on Haunted Hill, which debuted with $15.9M from 2,710 theaters. CinemaScore patrons gave Thirteen Ghosts an unflattering C+ grade so large declines in the weeks ahead could result.

Johnny Depp's gruesome thriller From Hell dropped from first to third place in its sophomore frame and grossed $6M. The Fox release declined 45% which was understandable for a horror film facing the debut of a new and bigger fright flick. Produced for $35M, From Hell has grossed $20.7M in ten days and should finish with roughly $35M.

The Drew Barrymore melodrama Riding in Cars With Boys slipped a reasonable 42% in its second weekend and placed fourth with $6M as well. With $19.1M in ten days, the $47M Sony release looks to reach $35-40M. The second weekend drop for Riding was larger than for Barrymore's other female-skewing films such as Never Been Kissed (-29%), Ever After (-10%), and Boys on the Side (-10%).

Spending its fourth weekend in the top five, Denzel Washington's cop film Training Day dropped 45% to $5.1M giving the Warner Bros. release $65M to date. The fall season's highest grossing film was followed by MGM's Bandits which took in $5M, off 39%, bringing its 17-day total to $32.1M. Miramax's romantic comedy Serendipity held up well in its fourth frame dipping just 30% to $3.8M pushing its cume to $40M.

Suffering the worst decline in the top ten, Robert Redford's prison tale The Last Castle plunged 49% in its sophomore frame to $3.6M. After ten days, the DreamWorks release has collected a disappointing $13M and should conclude its run with about $18-20M. The Last Castle carried a pricetag of approximately $55M and is unlikely to be a strong performer in overseas markets.

Buena Vista's slapstick comedy Corky Romano took ninth with $3M, down 44%, raising its 17-day sum to $20.2M. Rounding out the top ten was rapper Snoop Dogg's horror flick Bones with $2.8M from 847 venues. The New Line release's $3,334 per-theater average was third best in the top ten. Bowing on Wednesday, the R-rated thriller has collected $3.6M in five days.

Premiering poorly outside of the top ten was the romantic comedy On the Line starring pop singer Lance Bass with $2.3M. Miramax's PG-rated title entered 900 theaters and averaged a weak $2,563 per venue. Playing mostly to young girls, On the Line scored an A- with CinemaScore audiences and almost matched the $2.4M opening tally of pop diva Mariah Carey's cinematic dud Glitter from last month.

Among films in limited release, New Line enjoyed a promising start for the Kevin Kline tearjerker Life as a House which debuted in the top ten markets grossing $294,056 from 29 theaters. Averaging a healthy $10,140 per location, the R-rated film played best with adult women and will expand into more cities in the next two weeks.

The new Indian historical epic Asoka starring Shah Rukh Khan debuted with $337,464 from 66 theaters giving the Hindi-language pic a good $5,113 average.

Elsewhere, David Lynch's Mulholland Drive grossed $685,448 from 239 theaters for a dwindling $2,868 average giving the Universal title $2.9M to date. Fox Searchlight's animated feature Waking Life took in $215,506 after expanding into 26 theaters (from last weekend's four) and averaged a good $8,289. Total stands at $368,296. Paramount Classics collected $21,922 for the 1940s-set drama Focus ($10,961 per theater) bringing its total to $61,268.

Three films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. The Michael Douglas thriller Don't Say a Word tumbled 45% to $2.3M giving the Fox release $51.4M in 31 days. The season's second highest grossing film should find its way to $55-57M. Paramount's Ben Stiller comedy Zoolander has grossed $42.3M thus far and should finish with $44-46M while Miramax's martial arts reissue Iron Monkey has kicked up $13.3M thus far and looks to end with $15-17M.

The top ten films grossed $67.9M which was even with last year when Meet the Parents remained in the top spot for a fourth weekend with $15M; and up 35% from 1999 when The House on Haunted Hill opened at number one with $15.9M.

Compared to projections, K-Pax debuted better than my forecast of $11M while Thirteen Ghosts was on target with my $15M prediction. On the Line and Bones were both close to my $3M projection for each.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on how many weeks Harry Potter will spend at number one. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether recent terrorist threats have affected their moviegoing habits. Of 2,444 responses, 46% said Yes while 54% responded No.

Read the NEW Weekly Rewind column which reports on the biggest opening weekends of November. For a review of From Hell visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Monsters Inc., The One, and Domestic Disturbance all debut.

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

# Title Oct 26 - 28 Oct 19 - 21 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 K-Pax $ 17,215,275 2,541 1 $ 6,775 $ 17,215,275 Universal
2 Thirteen Ghosts 15,165,355 2,781 1 5,453 15,165,355 Warner Bros.
3 From Hell 6,019,012 11,014,818 -45.4 2,334 2 2,579 20,695,093 Fox
4 Riding in Cars with Boys 6,011,394 10,404,652 -42.2 2,770 2 2,170 19,102,783 Sony
5 Training Day 5,137,712 9,325,443 -44.9 2,328 4 2,207 65,029,281 Warner Bros.
6 Bandits 5,048,007 8,304,007 -39.2 3,015 3 1,674 32,131,388 MGM
7 Serendipity 3,811,923 5,446,446 -30.0 2,203 4 1,730 40,035,191 Miramax
8 The Last Castle 3,626,006 7,088,213 -48.8 2,270 2 1,597 12,951,350 DreamWorks
9 Corky Romano 2,997,670 5,307,985 -43.5 2,001 3 1,498 20,246,231 Buena Vista
10 Bones 2,823,548 847 1 3,334 3,566,361 New Line
11 On the Line 2,307,063 900 1 2,563 2,307,063 Miramax
12 Don't Say A Word 2,302,271 4,215,594 -45.4 1,700 5 1,354 51,382,964 Fox
13 Iron Monkey 1,681,435 3,190,010 -47.3 1,194 3 1,408 13,281,956 Miramax
14 Zoolander 1,618,333 3,135,854 -48.4 1,511 5 1,071 42,321,858 Paramount
15 Max Keeble's Big Move 1,427,956 2,645,891 -46.0 1,601 4 892 16,020,812 Buena Vista
16 Joy Ride 1,016,745 2,543,786 -60.0 1,167 4 871 20,606,858 Fox
17 Hardball 947,875 1,557,215 -39.1 975 7 972 37,011,261 Paramount
18 Mulholland Drive 685,448 960,558 -28.6 239 3 2,868 2,926,493 Universal
19 The Others 434,170 906,488 -52.1 673 12 645 95,242,858 Miramax
20 Hearts in Atlantis 429,194 1,285,476 -66.6 705 5 609 23,604,382 Warner Bros.
Top 5 $ 49,548,748 $ 46,137,133 7.4
Top 10 67,855,902 67,433,022 0.6
Top 20 80,706,392 79,023,469 2.1
Top 20 vs. 2000 80,706,392 76,580,281 5.4

Last Updated : October 29, 2001 at 10:00PM EST