The Queen takes a bite out of the box office

John Hamann's Weekend Wrap-Up

February 25, 2002

It’s been a long strange journey for the cast and crew of The Queen of the Damned, but the journey has paid off. The late Aaliyah’s final film has turned into a sweet success, grossing almost as much as her first film, Romeo Must Die, which had a huge draw in Jet Li. But in one of those great box office twists, the real Queen of the Damned this weekend is no other than the late, great Kevin Costner. To put it simply, Costner couldn’t open a jar of mayonnaise anymore, and Dragonfly is the perfect example.

Queen of the Damned was the number one film this weekend, as the Warner Bros. pic managed to gross $14.76 million this weekend from 2,511 screens, for a strong venue average of $5,878. QOTD was almost dumped at one point, with Warner Bros. considering a straight-to-video release due to quality issues. However, when its star, Aaliyah, passed away after a plane crash, Warner Bros, and Village Roadshow now had all the extra marketing this film needed to make a splash at the box office. With a relatively low cost of only $32 million, Warner Bros. will make back their investment, and could actually double it. Sledding will be tough for the vampire flick from here on out though, as Cinemascores were awful (avg. C+, very low for Cinemascores) and reviews were even worse.

Down 38% from last week is John Q, the intense drama from Denzel Washington. In its second weekend, John Q grossed $12.47 million from 2,505 screens. The film has received strongly mixed reactions from moviegoers, but with a running tally of $39.80 million and a second weekend above $10 million, John Q should have no problem making it to $60 million. Denzel Washington is as safe a box office draw as there is in Hollywood today.

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Third spot went to this week’s other opener, the Kevin Costner flick, Dragonfly. Universal Films is the studio behind Dragonfly, which grossed $10.22 million from 2,507 screens. This sounds like a decent opening weekend, right? Wrong. With a cost in the $75 million range, Dragonfly would need a Sixth Sense/The Others amount of buzz to make this flick profitable. Cinemascores weren’t too bad (avg. B+), but certainly not extraordinary. Dragonfly must be a huge disappointment to the studio based on both the budget and the fact that the film's script was once hailed as the best unmade movie in Hollywood.

Dragonfly continues the curse of Kevin Costner, who is in the middle of a huge slump, dating all the way back to Tin Cup, which was released in 1996. Critics seem to hate Costner, as there were only three positive reviews for Dragonfly out of 64 at

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Fourth spot goes to the Peter Pan retread, aptly titled Return to Neverland. Disney’s cheap “sure thing” grossed $8.99 million this week from 2,626 screens and had a screen average of $3,427. The kid flick held well compared to last week, dropping only 24%. This is even more impressive when we consider that last Sunday's total was significantly inflated due to the President’s Day long weekend. RTN’s total now stands at $27.27 million, easily on its way to $50 million.

The battle for fifth and sixth place was between the teen flicks, Crossroads with The Britney, and Big Fat Liar with Frankie Muniz and Amanda Bynes. Crossroads was fifth, losing an expected 52% of its audience compared to last weekend when fans were out in full force on opening night. Crossroads grossed $7.01 million in its second weekend, bringing its total to $26.18 million. Big Fat Liar, the film headlined with only TV star names, continues to draw crowds of kids, grossing $6.32 million in its third weekend. Like the other family film Return To Neverland, Big Fat Liar also saw a surprisingly small decline with only a 26% dropoff, bringing its surprise total to $33.23 million. This is one of the most profitable films in recent memory.

In seventh this week is the Oscar fave A Beautiful Mind, another Universal release in the top ten. ABM scored $5.31 million this weekend, bringing its gross to $132.69 million, about half the total of the other Oscar frontrunner, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

As we can see, it's been hit or miss recently for Universal Studios and there doesn't appear to be a whole lot of room in between. Looking at the chart below, we see that their recent titles have been either huge blockbusters or made less than $35 million domestic. Only K-Pax and Spy Game fall between the two extremes.

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The battle for eighth and ninth spot was between two films in their second weekend of release, Hart’s War starring Bruce Willis, and Broken Lizard’s Super Troopers. Standing pat in eighth place is Hart’s War, which managed to gross only $4.46 million, down 43% from the weekend before. The total for this car accident of a film is now at $15.00 million. The newly hot comedy troop grabbed ninth this week, grossing $3.91 million from 1,805 screens. The total for the low budget Sundance pickup now stands at $12.48 million and looks to be a steal for Fox Searchlight, who grabbed it for a paltry $3 million.

The race for tenth went to Collateral Damage which grossed $3.86 million from 2,410 venues. Its total has now grown to $34.60 million but the movie looks to be out of the top 10 in a matter of days. The project was simply unable to overcome the obstacles created by the events of 9/11.

The top 12 this week grossed $84.37 million. Compared to the same weekend last year when 3000 Miles to Graceland and Monkeybone were released, box office was understandably up 13%. Compared to last weekend's President’s Day four-day period, business was off considerably (26%), as to be expected.

Next weekend brings yet another war flick to theatres, We Were Soldiers, starring Mel Gibson. It also brings what could be a sleeper hit, the brilliantly marketed Josh Hartnett flick, 40 Days and 40 Nights.

Top 12 for Weekend of February 22-24, 2002
Number of Sites
Change in Sites from Last
Actual Gross ($)
Cumulative Gross ($)
Queen of the Damned
John Q
Return to Neverland
Big Fat Liar
A Beautiful Mind
Hart's War
No change
Super Troopers
Collateral Damage
Black Hawk Down
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring



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