Weekend Box Office (November 3 - 5, 2000)

THIS WEEKEND Girlpower dominated the box office as Charlie's Angels delivered a phenomenal opening pushing the boys of four-time chart-topper Meet the Parents to second place. The Legend of Bagger Vance enjoyed a good debut in third place but Blair Witch 2 and Lucky Numbers fell sharply in their second weekends. Led by Angels, the top ten surged 57% ahead of the comparable frame from a year ago and reached its highest level in three months which should come as good news to the industry with the holiday movie season just around the corner.

Commanding a thunderous opening weekend gross, the action film Charlie's Angels dominated theatrical business with a mammoth $40.1M take, according to final studio figures. Sony launched its new franchise picture in 3,037 theaters and averaged a sizzling $13,213 per venue. Based on the popular television series from the late 1970s, Charlie's Angels stars Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu as a crime-fighting trio out to stop a software mogul's evil plan. Bill Murray stars as Bosley and John Forsythe voices the reclusive boss Charlie as he did decades ago.

Angels claimed the second-best non-summer opening in box office history behind last November's Toy Story 2. The Disney smash, after playing exclusively in one theater for five days, opened nationwide over Thanksgiving weekend with a colossal $57.4M over three days. Angels also ranks sixth among openings this year and fourth among debuts in Sony's company history. Filled with stunts, car chases, martial arts, and explosions, the big-budget action vehicle grossed more than the next four films combined this weekend and accounted for 43% of all ticket sales for the top ten.

Sony marketing and distribution chief Jeff Blake was delighted by the performance of Charlie's Angels stating "the benchmark we wanted to reach was The Waterboy which opened with $39.4M this weekend two years ago so we're very happy." He added that the PG-13 film attracted great strength in all demographics with females making up 55% of the audience and 65% being over the age of 21. Budgeted at $92M, Sony owns worldwide rights and will open aggressively in 50 countries this month, according to Blake, starting with Japan next weekend. Australia, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Argentina, and the United Kingdom are also among the markets launching in November.

Pushed out of the summer season, Charlie's Angels was wisely placed into the same early November period that worked wonders for numerous other event films. Following the generally weaker movies of September and October, but arriving ahead of the heavy hitters of Thanksgiving, big films launching in early November have typically dominated the marketplace in their openings. Previous winners include 1994's Interview with the Vampire, 1995's Ace Ventura 2, 1996's Ransom, and 1998's The Waterboy which all enjoyed opening weekend grosses of $34-40M. The ladies of Angels have now taken it one step further.

After ruling the box office charts for the entire month of October, the blockbuster comedy Meet the Parents settled for the runnerup spot but still enjoyed an amazingly low decline. Slipping just 16%, the Robert De Niro-Ben Stiller hit collected $12.6M giving it the best fifth-weekend gross of any film since The Sixth Sense. With $116.5M in the bank, Meet the Parents has quickly become De Niro's highest-grossing film ever surpassing the $106.8M of his last comedy hit Analyze This. For Stiller and director Jay Roach, Parents has become their second-biggest smash after There's Something About Mary and Austin Powers 2, respectively. Produced by Universal and DreamWorks for $51M, Meet the Parents could find its domestic cume reach the $160-190M range with mammoth ancillary revenues still to come.

Opening in third place with $11.5M was the Will Smith-Matt Damon golf drama The Legend of Bagger Vance. Directed by Robert Redford, the DreamWorks release teed off in 2,061 theaters and averaged a solid $5,588. In Bagger Vance, Smith plays a caddie who helps a war hero, played by Damon, compete in a prestigious tournament. Reviews were mixed for the PG-13 film which arrived a bit below Redford's last directorial effort, The Horse Whisperer, which opened with $13.7M in May 1998 with a $6,712 average and went on to gross $75.4M domestically. Also starring Charlize Theron, Bagger Vance will be released by Fox overseas.

Easing just 13%, Buena Vista's football drama Remember the Titans ranked fourth with $7M in its sixth play. The Denzel Washington hit has displayed remarkable legs and has grossed $96.7M thus far. Carrying a negative cost of $27M, Titans should cross the $100M mark by the end of the week becoming the 15th such blockbuster of the year.

Suffering the worst decline in the top ten, Book of Shadows : Blair Witch 2 fell to fifth with $5M tumbling a horrendous 62%. The much-hyped Artisan sequel is booked in more theaters than any other film with a bold 3,320 playdates giving the franchise fright flick a poor $1,510 average per location. Budgeted at around $15M, Blair Witch 2 has grossed $21.8M in ten days and should conclude with around $30M. Because horror films perform well on home video, the critically-panned picture should eventually bring its distributor some modest profits. The original 1999 indie smash The Blair Witch Project grossed $140.5M domestically, $240M worldwide, and made a killing from video, merchandising and soundtrack sales.

Falling 41% in its third weekend to $4.7M, Fox's Bedazzled took sixth place and raised its cume to a decent $30.8M. Pay it Forward, also in its third frame, placed seventh dropping 37% to $4.3M for a 17-day total of $25.1M.

Despite having the family marketplace all to itself, The Little Vampire slipped 39% in its second weekend to $3.5M. With $10M in ten days, the New Line release looks to reach $18-20M before reaching a wider audience on home video.

John Travolta's comedy clunker Lucky Numbers plunged 55% in its second drawing and collected $2.1M. The $63M Paramount/StudioCanal co-production has grossed a dismal $7.7M in ten days and seems headed for a domestic final of $10-12M. Overseas potential looks equally bleak for the Nora Ephron-directed dark comedy. By comparison, Travolta's last fall flop, 1997's Mad City, opened similarly with $4.6M, fell 53% in its second weekend, and ended its run with a mere $10.6M. With Battlefield Earth and Lucky Numbers both being ignored by moviegoers, John Travolta will be happy to see this year come to an end.

Rounding out the top ten was Jackie Chan's The Legend of Drunken Master with $1.6M, off 35%, and a $9.7M cume.

Dropping out of the top ten over the weekend were the Warner Bros. comedy Best in Show with $1.5M and the DreamWorks political drama The Contender with $1.4M. Show has scooped up $11.3M to date while playing in less than 500 theaters while Contender has grossed $16.1M thus far.

Two films expanded successfully in limited release this weekend. The British film Billy Elliot widened from 37 to 119 theaters in existing markets and took in $1M. The Universal Focus title averaged a stellar $8,689 and raised its total to $2.8M. The rookie distributor will expand further on Friday bringing Billy Elliot into 400-500 theaters. Artisan's Requiem For A Dream went from 4 to 25 theaters and collected $251,313. Darren Aronofsky's drug saga averaged a strong $10,053 per site and boosted its cume to $643,650.

The top ten films grossed $92.3M over the weekend which was up a scorching 57% from last year when The Bone Collector debuted in the top spot with $16.7M; and up 4% from 1998 when The Waterboy opened at number one with $39.4M.

Compared to projections, Charlie's Angels opened better than my $33M forecast. The Legend of Bagger Vance debuted a couple of notches above my $9M prediction.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on which November film you want to see the most. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether Charlie's Angels would open with at least $25M. Of 2,801 responses, 61% correctly guessed Yes while 39% said No.

Read the Weekly Rewind column which looks at the smallest openings for films debuting in over 3,000 theaters. For a review of Charlie's Angels visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Little Nicky, Red Planet, and Men of Honor all open.

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

# Title Nov. 3 - 5 Oct. 27 - 29 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Charlie's Angels $ 40,128,550 3,037 1 $ 13,213 $ 40,128,550 Sony
2 Meet the Parents 12,638,560 15,048,475 -16.0 2,672 5 4,730 116,464,490 Universal
3 The Legend of Bagger Vance 11,516,712 2,061 1 5,588 11,516,712 DreamWorks
4 Remember the Titans 6,961,283 8,027,728 -13.3 2,737 6 2,543 96,737,442 Buena Vista
5 Blair Witch 2 5,011,801 13,223,887 -62.1 3,320 2 1,510 21,799,939 Artisan
6 Bedazzled 4,655,978 7,829,426 -40.5 2,502 3 1,861 30,811,044 Fox
7 Pay it Forward 4,278,516 6,803,726 -37.1 2,130 3 2,009 25,126,486 Warner Bros.
8 The Little Vampire 3,505,436 5,719,627 -38.7 2,009 2 1,745 9,975,263 New Line
9 Lucky Numbers 2,051,958 4,536,625 -54.8 2,528 2 812 7,709,806 Paramount
10 The Legend of Drunken Master 1,571,681 2,429,386 -35.3 1,183 3 1,329 9,719,472 Miramax
11 Best in Show 1,505,724 1,827,376 -17.6 497 6 3,030 11,270,389 Warner Bros.
12 The Contender 1,366,251 2,451,799 -44.3 1,309 4 1,044 16,120,906 DreamWorks
13 Billy Elliot 1,034,005 573,744 80.2 119 4 8,689 2,827,917 Uni. Focus
14 The Exorcist (reissue) 807,497 1,585,848 -49.1 950 7 850 38,665,034 Warner Bros.
15 Lost Souls 621,615 1,369,140 -54.6 947 4 656 16,358,063 New Line
16 The Ladies Man 601,813 1,511,455 -60.2 1,340 4 449 12,944,396 Paramount
17 Dr. T and the Women 590,218 1,288,029 -54.2 802 4 736 12,115,208 Artisan
18 Almost Famous 460,581 695,384 -33.8 417 8 1,105 30,511,244 DreamWorks
19 Mohabbatein 360,000 570,000 -36.8 53 2 6,792 1,070,000 Yash Raj Films
20 Scary Movie 307,104 72,237 325.1 336 18 914 156,529,627 Miramax
Top 5 $ 76,256,906 $ 50,933,242 49.7
Top 10 92,320,475 67,898,055 36.0
Top 20 99,975,283 76,580,281 30.5
Top 20 vs. 1999 99,975,283 72,548,093 37.8

Last Updated : November 6 at 8:00PM EST

Written by Gitesh Pandya