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Tie Goes to the Runner

John Hamann's Weekend Wrap-Up

June 21-23, 2002

Oh, Tom....this is how those rumors get started.

Minority Report, the new film from Señor Spielbergo and Tom "No longer #1 at Vanity Fair" Cruise, did not explode out of the gate this weekend, as many analysts agreed it would. Movies for kids young and old ruled again as the new film from Disney, Lilo & Stitch, was the big winner this weekend, even though it wasn't the number one film. The combined take of the three openers ended up under-achieving, grossing only $78.7 million.

The number one film this week is Minority Report, the Spielberg sci-fi event film that was definitely not as long in the making as AI, but still has been in play since Phillip K. Dick wrote the short story it was based on in 1956. MR grossed a surprisingly low $36.9 million this weekend from 3,001 venues, for an average of $12,296. What happened? Why didn't this film break out? Cruise and Speilberg. Action/sci-fi. Great reviews. All the ingredients were there, and the film still under-performed. Either the message wasn't delivered effectively, or audiences weren't in tune with what the story had to offer. Minority Report has opened similarly to Speilberg's last effort, the wonderful AI; that film opened to $29.3 million and had a final gross of less than $100 million.

Minority Report is the best reviewed big-budget film since Spider-Man. Out of a huge 124 reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, 115 of them were positive, giving the film a 93% Fresh rating. Currently at RT, Spidey has amassed 153 reviews, with 135 of them being positive, for a Fresh rating of 88%. Usually, reviews are horrible and people still go in massive numbers. Now we have a film that reviews spectacularly and it under-achieves. Figuring out the North American movie-going audience is an impossibility.

Minority Report is distributed by Fox, and is the first directed film from Steven Speilberg with 20th Century Fox, which is somewhat surprising, as he has directed 20 films throughout his career. Nevertheless, the company names behind Minority Report don't stop there. There is a lot of Hollywood power behind this film, as the production companies are Fox, DreamWorks, Cruise-Wagner Productions, Blue Tulip (Jan de Bont), and Amblin Entertainment. IMDB lists the Minority Report budget at $80 million, which seems low. The actual budget number is above $100 million, but, according to Variety, product placement in the film was sold for up to $25 million. Still, with so many fingers in this pie, one has to wonder about how far that cash will spread. Doesn't really matter; with an opening weekend gross of $36.9 million, this one will be turning a profit by the end of its run, even with the cost of prints and advertising.

<% sqlstr = "SELECT * FROM box WHERE" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like '%Mission: Impossible%' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like '%Mission:Impossible%' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Others, The' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like '%Vanilla Sky%' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like '%Without Limits%'" sqlstr = sqlstr + " ORDER BY open DESC" max = 100 header = "Recent Cruise/Wagner Productions" tstyle = "release" skin = "bop" x = Drawtable(sqlstr,max,header,tstyle,skin) %>

In a close race, second spot this weekend goes, surprisingly, to Lilo & Stitch, the new film from Disney. Kids of all ages abandoned Scooby-Doo for Disney's cute new character, the well-marketed Stitch. Opening wider than Minority Report, L&S grossed $35.8 million from 3,191 screens, for a fantastic venue average of $11,219. L&S is really a different film for Disney compared to what they've delivered in the last few years. Walt's studio has delivered "safe" kids' flicks recently, like Return To Neverland, The Tigger Movie, 102 Dalmatians, Inspector Gadget, and Tarzan. These films have some built-in awareness factors, as do the Disney/Pixar films like the Toy Story franchise, Monsters, Inc. and A Bug's Life. However, the films they take chances on either make them or break them. Over the last year, there seems to be an emphasis on new product. This year, Snow Dogs was a real surprise. Last summer, the disappointing Atlantis failed, but The Princess Diaries worked to a large degree. I hope that this trend indicates that Disney will continue to think outside of the box more, and with the success of Lilo & Stitch, they should be able to fund a few more new ideas.

<% sqlstr = "SELECT * FROM box WHERE" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like '%Return to Neverland%' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like '%Snow Dogs%' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like '%Monsters, Inc%' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like '%Max Keeble%' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like '%Princess Diaries%' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like 'Atlantis%' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like '%Recess%' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like '%Tigger Movie, The%' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like '%Dinosaur' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like '%Disney’s The Kid%' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like '%102 Dalmatians%' OR" sqlstr = sqlstr + " movie like '%emperor''s new groove%'" sqlstr = sqlstr + " ORDER BY open DESC" max = 100 header = "Recent Disney Family Films" tstyle = "release" skin = "bop" x = Drawtable(sqlstr,max,header,tstyle,skin) %>

With L&S's more modest design, Disney was able to keep the budget in the $80 million range. Now, with a fantastic opening weekend, this flick should be a huge winner for the Mouse House. Critics were kind to Lilo & Stitch, as the Disney kid flick harkens back somewhat to the older days of Disney. It didn't do quite as well as Minority Report in terms of reviews, but still held its own. L&S received 70 reviews, 58 of which were positive, bringing a Fresh percentage of 83%. The last time two "good" movies opened together on the big screen was March 29th, when Panic Room and The Rookie both opened. That was 12 weeks ago.

Third spot this weekend goes to last week's number-one film, Scooby-Doo. Scooby didn't have a lot of positive factors rolling into the weekend; its estimate from last weekend was lowered by almost $2 million, reviews weren't great, and advertising has dropped significantly. Warner Bros. put themselves into a position of losing 50% of their audience, and took an even bigger hit, dropping 55% to $24.4 million this weekend. Still the widest release out there at 3,447 venues, Scooby had a not-great second-weekend venue average of $7,067. None of this really matters, though, as Scooby out-grossed its budget last weekend when it crossed the $52 million dollar mark; its total now stands at $100.2 million, breaking the $100 million barrier in only 10 days. WB re-enters the kid flick fray when the buzzing Powerpuff Girls opens over the July 4th weekend.

Fourth spot this weekend goes to last weekend's number-two film, The Bourne Identity. Matt Damon and Doug Liman's spy flick didn't hold as well as Universal would have liked; it grossed $14.8 million from 2,643 screens, dropping 45%. The venue average is still a somewhat-healthy $5,600. TBI is budgeted at $75 million, so the book-based film still has some work to do, but should have no problem making its production budget back. Its total gross stands at $54.1 million.

Fifth spot goes to Ben Affleck's film The Sum of All Fears. This week, Sum grossed $7.9 million, down 41% from last weekend, when it grossed $13.5 million. The total for the Tom Clancy-inspired film stands at $97.4 million. It looks like Sum should cross the $100 million mark around Wednesday of this week.

Sixth spot goes to Windtalkers, the John Woo disappointment from MGM. A lot of MGM business hinged on the second week number for Windtalkers, and unfortunately, the number is under-whelming. The war pic with the $100 million appetite grossed $6.7 million in its sophomore session, down a distressing 54%. Its total after two weeks stands at $26.7 million, and looks to make only about $35-40 million back for the studio.

Seventh goes to our third opener this week, the over-exposed Juwanna Man. The cross-dressing basketball movie somehow grossed $6.0 million from 1,325 screens, for a not-bad venue average of $4,528. Shouldn't be long before this movie is only a bad memory.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood landed in eighth this weekend. The chick flick with huge star-power grossed $5.7 million in its third weekend from 2,310 screens. The total for the Callie Khouri-directed film has now hit $46.4 million.

Ninth this weekend is Attack of the Clones, still holding on after six weekends of release. The George Lucas-directed flick grossed $5.1 million this weekend, down another 46%. The space opera lost 294 screens this weekend, bringing its venue total down to 2,107, for an average of $2,421. The total for the epic stands at $279.8 million, and it's going to need about six more weeks of release to make it to $300 million. See below for how Attack of the Clones has dropped from opening weekend:

Week-to-week dropoffs for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
Weekend
Percent drop
Second weekend
40.2%
Third weekend
56.1%
Fourth weekend
33.3%
Fifth weekend
32.6%
This weekend
46.0%

Tenth houses the undefeatable Spider-Man. The new superhero at Sony grossed $4.4 million in its eighth weekend. The drop this weekend was 41%, as both Minority Report and Lilo & Stitch tend to cut into its demographic base. The total for Spidey stands at $390.2 million. Below we have the drop-offs for Spidey; you can see how they reflect against AotC:

Week-to-week dropoffs for Spider-Man
Weekend
Percent drop
Second weekend
37.8%
Third weekend
36.9%
Fourth weekend
36.7%
Fifth weekend
49.8%
Sixth weekend
28.0%
Seventh weekend
27.1%
This weekend
41.0%

Last year, The Fast and the Furious surprised on its debut weekend, cracking the $40 million mark, and Dr. Dolittle 2 grossed $25 million, good for second place. The top ten over last year's frame grossed $132.5 million, compared to this year's top ten figure of $151.7 million, so box office is up 14.5%.

Next weekend brings Adam Sandler back to cinemas with Mr. Deeds, and Hey Arnold! The Movie, a Paramount kids' flick hits screens as well. Check out BOP's release schedule for more information.

Top 12 for Weekend of June 21-23, 2002
Rank
Film
Number of Sites
Change in Sites from Last
Estimated Gross ($)
Cumulative Gross ($)
1
Minority Report
3,001
New
36.9
36.9
2
Lilo & Stitch
3,191
New
35.8
35.8
3
Scooby-Doo
3,447
No change
24.4
100.2
4
The Bourne Identity
2,643
+5
14.8
54.1
5
The Sum of All Fears
3,037
-193
7.9
97.4
6
Windtalkers
2,898
No change
6.7
26.7
7
Juwanna Mann
1,325
New
6.0
6.0
8
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
2,310
-197
5.7
46.4
9
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
2,107
-294
5.1
279.8
10
Spider-Man
2,278
-424
4.4
390.2
11
Undercover Brother
1,305
-527
2.1
35.5
12
Bad Company
1,562
-1,382
2.0
26.3

     


 
 

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