Can We Have March back, Please?

John Hamann's Weekend Wrap-Up

April 5-7, 2002

Someone forgot to tell Jodie there's a new Starling now.

Coming off a huge March, where a whole bunch of records were crushed, April enters softly, and the coming weeks on the schedule don't fill one with a whole bunch of anticipation. High Crimes, Van Wilder and Big Trouble all took a shot at besting last weekend's champ, Panic Room, but none of the new releases were up to the task. A few years ago, February and March were good months to dump a release that didn't have a chance; I'm starting to wonder if that month is now April.

Panic Room was again the winner at the box office this weekend, and the drop from opening weekend wasn't bad, indicating good word-of-mouth for the Jodie Foster/David Fincher film. This weekend was much like last year, when Spy Kids was the number-one film for the second weekend in a row, grossing $17.07 million, off 36% from the weekend before. The openers, Along Came a Spider, Blow and Pokémon 3, lined up behind, coming in second, third and fourth, respectively. That was a much better crop of films than we had this weekend, and the results show. The only thing this weekend had going for it was the strength of the holdovers.

Panic Room, the R-rated suspense film from David Fincher, grossed $18.5 million from 3,053 screens and carried a screen average of $6,060. Panic Room is the first film to hold the number-one spot at the box office for two weeks in a row since Black Hawk Down did it in mid-January. The total for the Sony film now stands at $58.8 million, on its way to becoming Fincher's second-highest-grossing film since Se7en, which grossed $100.1 million.

High Crimes was the number two movie this weekend, grossing $15.02 million from 2,717 screens. High Crimes had a screen average of $5,526. When Ashley Judd is featured with a prominent male star, her movies are usually profitable ventures. Similar to High Crimes, Ashley paired with Morgan Freeman in 1997's Kiss the Girls. That film had an opening weekend gross of $13.22 million, and went on to gross $60.5 million. Ashley also matched up with Tommy Lee Jones for Double Jeopardy, which built further on Ashley Judd's star status; that film opened to $23.2 million and grossed a massive $116.7 million.

20th Century Fox released High Crimes, which continues Fox's hot streak in 2002. Fox started their year with the wacky Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, which grossed $17 million against a budget of $10 million. They then opened Ice Age in dramatic fashion two weeks ago, and as you will see below, the juggernaut is still rolling. Upcoming films for Fox include Unfaithful, with Richard Here; the mega-flick Star Wars 2: Attack of the Clones; and Tom Cruise in Minority Report. It's going to be a good year for Fox. <% sqlstr = "SELECT * FROM box WHERE" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Ice Age' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Kung Pow: Enter the Fist ' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Joe Somebody' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Behind Enemy Lines' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Black Knight' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Shallow Hal'" sqlstr = sqlstr + " ORDER BY open DESC" max = 100 header = "Fox Chart" tstyle = "release" skin = "bop" x = Drawtable(sqlstr,max,header,tstyle,skin) %>

Where is High Crimes heading? None of the films opening this weekend received the valuable Fresh rating at, but High Crimes wasn't the worst. Out of 71 reviews, only 27 came back positive, for a Fresh rating of only 38%. Cinemascores was much kinder, as both men and women loved this film; the overall score was a B+.

Third spot goes to the previously mentioned Ice Age, as the Fox animated film continues to roll forward. Ice Age grossed $14.32 million from 3,200 screens this weekend, good for a drop of only 21%. The total for the kids' flick stands at a mighty $141.4 million, and could reach as high as $175 million.

In fourth and holding well is Disney's The Rookie, the baseball movie starring Dennis Quaid. Word-of-mouth on The Rookie is hot, and that showed in its hold this weekend. The film dropped only 27%, grossing another $11.7 million from 2,524 screens. The total for the G-rated movie now stands at $34.9 million, and with continued good holds, this film could reach $75 million.

The number five film this weekend is Van Wilder, starring Ryan Reynolds and Tara Reid. VW grossed $7.5 million this weekend from 2,022 screens, for a venue average of $3,709. How did Van Wilder stack up against similar movies? Well, it looks poor against the college/teen flicks people remember, like American Pie (open $18.71 million), its sequel ($45.12 million open), and Road Trip (open $15.48 million). But what about the films from this genre no one remembers? See the chart below for more info.

<% sqlstr = "SELECT * FROM box WHERE" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Not Another Teen Movie' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Tomcats' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Can’t Hardly Wait' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Slackers' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Boys and Girls' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Dead Man on Campus' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'PCU'" sqlstr = sqlstr + " ORDER BY open DESC" max = 100 header = "Forgettable Teen Romps" tstyle = "release" skin = "bop" x = Drawtable(sqlstr,max,header,tstyle,skin) %>

Van Wilder, from small distributor Artisan Films, is that company's biggest release since Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, the disappointing sequel to the largest-grossing independent feature ever (disappointing, yes, but also profitable; BW2 cost about $15 million, and made $25 million before heading into the shadows). Last year was rough for the small company; none of their five released films gathered much steam. Artisan only has three releases on the slate for 2002, and oddly enough, they are the lewd, crude, R-rated Van Wilder and two religious movies. Van Wilder really needed to work better for this company, as the schedule beyond Van Wilder is basically empty. <% sqlstr = "SELECT * FROM box WHERE" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Made' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Blair Witch 2:Book of Shadows' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Dr. T and the Women ' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Way of the Gun, The ' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Ninth Gate, The' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Blair Witch Project, The '" sqlstr = sqlstr + " ORDER BY open DESC" max = 100 header = "Artisan Films" tstyle = "release" skin = "bop" x = Drawtable(sqlstr,max,header,tstyle,skin) %>

Van Wilder was crushed by critics; it only got nine positive reviews at (10/49 if you include my positive review), for a Fresh rating of only 19%. Cinemascores was entirely predictable. Under-21s loved it, with both male and females delivering a B+ rating, but over-21s were not so kind; in fact, the over-35 group gave it a D- from males and a nasty F from females. The overall grade was a C+.

Clockstoppers, the clean teen flick from Nickelodeon and Paramount, landed in sixth this weekend, holding surprisingly well after receiving very little second week advertising. Clockstoppers grossed $7.3 million this weekend, down only 28% from its debut of $10.1 million. Its total now stands at $22.5 million.

Seventh spot went to Blade II this weekend, after another precipitous drop compared to last weekend. The Wesley Snipes comic book/action film grossed $7.17 million this weekend from 2,561 screens, down 45% from its $13 million take last weekend. Hopes were high for a decent total gross from this film, but it isn't finding the legs the first film had. Currently the total for the New Line film stands at $67.1 million, just short of the original's gross of $70.1 million.

Big Trouble, from Touchstone Pictures, landed way back in eighth this weekend, grossing only $3.7 million from 1,961 screens. Big Trouble was one of the films affected by the 9/11 attacks, and will end up being the most affected. It was originally scheduled for release on September 21st, but was bumped because it contained scenes of a bomb on an airplane and a gun getting past airport security. After 9/11, I think Touchstone wrote this release off, and only gave it marginal support in terms of marketing this weekend. Unfortunately, we don't have any budget information, but with the impressive group of actors in this film, Touchstone probably paid $20 million before turning on the camera.

Landing in a disappointing ninth spot this weekend is the re-release of ET the Extra-Terrestrial. ET grossed $3.31 million this weekend, down another 46%. The re-release has now grossed a much-lower-than-expected $30.5 million. The Wall Street Journal on Friday called the re-release a bust, and Universal Pictures Vice-Chairman Marc Shmuger agreed, saying, "We came up short. It happens on occasion in this business."

Tenth spot this weekend was home to Oscar-winner A Beautiful Mind. ABM grossed $2.76 million in its 16th week of release. Following its post-Oscar weekend, the Ron Howard pic fell 28%, its biggest drop yet in its beautiful run. Its total has now hit $165.1 million.

Eleventh and 12th went to Mel Gibson's We Were Soldiers and The Lord of the Rings. We Were Soldiers has quietly done quite well. This weekend's gross was $2.65 million, brining its total to $71.8 million. Lord of the Rings managed to hang on for 12th, grossing $1.75 million, raising its total to a massive $304.13 million.

Even with the soft openers, box office compared to last year was still up, thanks in large part to the powerful holdovers. In 2001, the top 12 grossed $81.78 million; in 2002, the top 12 grossed $95.7 million, good for an increase of 17.03%. Compared to last weekend, when the top 12 grossed $114.23 million, box office was down 16.2%. Next weekend at least brings some fresh films to the marketplace. Ben Affleck and Sam Jackson go at it in Changing Lanes; Cameron Diaz tries to get at it in The Sweetest Thing; and horror film Frailty, from Bill Paxton, also hits theatres. For more information, click here to visit BOP's Release Schedule.

Top 10 for Weekend of April 5-7, 2002
Number of Sites
Change in Sites from Last
Estimated Gross ($)
Cumulative Gross ($)
Panic Room
No change
High Crimes
Ice Age
The Rookie
National Lampoon's Van Wilder
Blade II
Big Trouble
E.T 20th Anniversary Edition
A Beautiful Mind
We Were Soldiers
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring



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