Setting Up for Spidey

John Hamann's Weekend Wrap-Up

April 26-28, 2002

Kelly Hu looks on in horror as The Rock tries to act.

This weekend's releases are a symbolic offering to Spider-Man, as two films came down the pike and were ignored. Jason X and Life or Something Like It were this year's sacrifice to the summer movie box-office god. With the big Spider coming next week, studios were putting their winners away, maybe anticipating a crunching of legs in the next frame. New Line was smart releasing Jason X this weekend; it wasn't going to have legs anyway. The Scorpion King on the other hand held somewhat well this weekend, considering last week's open of $36 million and the fan-base of its star, WWF's The Rock.

Do opening films cut down the box-office performance of films that opened the week earlier? Tim Briody wrote a great column on how opening films aren't affected by competition, but what about the legs of second- and third- weekend films? Shrek, which had its second weekend against the massive opening weekend of Pearl Harbor (open $59 million), repeated its opening weekend gross of $42 million against the grandiose WWII film. However, Shrek is somewhat alone in terms of big films and second weekend legs; many people blamed big drop-offs last summer on a steady stream of "event" pictures that clogged the marketplace. Look at this weekend: Jason X and Life or Something Like It were going nowhere, and The Scorpion King still dropped 51%. It comes down to perceived film quality, whether it is the first or second week of a film's release, but that trend could be changing. Check back to this column over the summer for further evaluation of this topic.

Spider-Man is free and clear to clean up next weekend, as The Scorpion King was the number-one film again this weekend, trashing the two openers. The Rock's film grossed $17.57 million from a still-potent 3,449 screens, good for a venue average of $5,094. The week-to-week drop-off for the action film was 51%, which isn't bad, compared to some other $35+ million-opening films like The Fast and The Furious (50% second-weekend drop) and Scream 3 (53% second-weekend drop). Fast ended up with a higher total box, as it was released during the summer and patrons were able to get their car-racing fixes during the week. Scorpion King will most likely end up where Scream 3 did, with about a $90 million total, as TSK should continue to see week-to-week drops like this from here on out. But with a budget of only $60 million, and a two week gross of $60.8 million, I think we will see The Rock again soon at the local cineplex.

Changing Lanes was the number two film for the second week in a row. The Samuel L. Jackson/Ben Affleck action flick grossed $9 million in its third weekend, dropping only 18.7%. Positive word-of-mouth is spreading, as the total for the Paramount flick has now reached $44.6 million.

Angelina Jolie's new film debuted in third this weekend, as Life or Something Like It managed to grab a small $6.65 million from 2,604 screens. LoSLI is the second of three chick flicks Fox is releasing before Star Wars, Episode 2: Attack of the Clones. High Crimes with Ashley Judd was the first; it opened adequately, but its drop-off has been quick. The third film is Unfaithful, with Diane Lane and Richard Gere; it debuts May 10th.

Life or Something Like It is a green-light mistake, much like Original Sin was last summer. Angelina Jolie needs to establish herself more as a star before studios decide to hang the fate of a picture on her shoulders; Tomb Raider just doesn't quite cut it. Next up for Jolie is Beyond Borders, another Original Sin-type romance on which Paramount hopefully didn't spend too much money. Check out the list below for Angelina Jolie films.

<% sqlstr = "SELECT * FROM box WHERE" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Original Sin' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Tomb Raider' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Gone In Sixty Seconds' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Girl, Interrupted' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Bone Collector' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Pushing Tin' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Playing by Heart'" sqlstr = sqlstr + " ORDER BY open DESC" max = 100 header = "Angelina Jolie flicks" tstyle = "release" skin = "bop" x = Drawtable(sqlstr,max,header,tstyle,skin) %>

Fourth went to Jason X from New Line Cinema. Jason managed to cut up $6.5 million worth of business from a small run of only 1,878 screens. The horror flick had a screen average of $3,461. Will New Line be upset with the opening of Jason X? Probably not. The slasher flick had a budget of only $14 million, which it should make back before the end of its run. The real money for this release will be made on video.

Sandra Bullock's Murder by Numbers finds itself in the fifth spot this week, down one from last week. The thriller grossed $6.31 million in its second weekend from 2,663 screens. Murder dropped 32% and had a screen average of $2,370. With a gross so far of $18.3 million, look for this flick to end up with about $25 million.

Buena Vista's The Rookie is sixth, and is still the best hold in the top ten. The Dennis Quaid baseball movie grossed another $5.4 million this weekend, down only 16% from last weekend. Positive word-of-mouth is everywhere for this movie, as its drops have been 26% in its second weekend, 31% in the next frame, 21% last weekend, and 16% this weekend. The Rookie should end up in the $75-80 million range, as it has a gross so far of $60.6 million.

Seventh spot is reserved for Ice Age, the leggy animated pic from Fox Studios. The cheery animated tale grossed $4.63 million in its seventh frame, dropping 22%. The total for the film now stands at $165.4 million. Ice Age has now passed A Bug's Life in total box office; the Disney/Pixar pic grossed $162.79 million during its run in 1998. How long will it take Sony's Spider-Man to unseat Ice Age as the biggest grosser of 2002? Not long.

There's good news and bad news at the bottom of the chart for Sony, as Panic Room lands in eighth with a weekend take of $4.2 million. The David Fincher film has not achieved Se7en legs, but a total of $87.7 million must have the folks at the studio quite happy. It will be enough to make up for the losses of the tenth-place film, Cameron Diaz's The Sweetest Thing, which grossed $2.9 million this weekend. The comedy now has a total of $21.3 million, not close to its production cost of $45 million.

The top ten this weekend grossed $66.17 million, up 23.8% from last year, when four opening films hit screens. Driven with Sly Stallone was the number-one film with just over $12 million, while the notorious Town and County flopped, along with One Night at McCool's, which finished out of the top ten. Both of those films managed to gross less than $3.5 million. Compared to last weekend, box office was down 21%.

Next weekend, of course, is the debut of Spider-Man, which will open alongside two fodder films, Hollywood Ending, with Woody Allen, and the long-delayed Deuce's Wild, with a bevy of young actors.

Top 12 for Weekend of April 26-28
Number of Sites
Change in Sites from Last
Estimated Gross ($)
Cumulative Gross ($)
The Scorpion King
Changing Lanes
No Change
Life Or Something Like It
Jason X
Murder By Numbers
No Change
The Rookie
Ice Age
Panic Room
High Crimes
The Sweetest Thing
National Lampoon's Van Wilder



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