The Spaceman Cometh

John Hamann's Weekend Wrap-Up

October 28, 2001

Kevin Spacey and a baker's dozen of ghouls completely dominated the box office this week. Universal's K-Pax and 13 Ghosts from Warner Brothers both opened in the $15 million range in a not-too-busy session at the movie marketplace. With the opening of the World Series taking place Saturday night, it was a light weekend at the box office as any Yankees matchup obviously cuts into box office revenues. The October 26-28th weekend was the last before Monsters Inc hits theatres everywhere and the onslaught of pre-teens hit cinemas.

Universal's K-PAX was the number one movie this weekend with an estimated gross of $17.5 million, edging out 13 Ghosts for the top spot. The Kevin Spacey / Jeff Bridges film opened on 2,543 screens, and had a venue average of $6,887. While Spacey and Bridges may be popular actors, their names have never guaranteed big box office over opening weekends. Spacey of course took American Beauty to lofty heights ($130 million domestic, $348 million worldwide), but his only films since then are Big Kahuna ($3.15 million domestic) and Pay It Forward (open $9.63 million, $33.51 total). Jeff Bridges has been around forever, and has had memorable roles in great movies like Tron, The Fabulous Baker Boys and The Big Lebowski, but he has never been a part of a film that has been a breakout success opening weekend.

<% sqlstr = "SELECT * FROM box WHERE movie like 'Pay It Forward%' OR movie like 'Big Kahuna%' OR movie like 'Se7en' " sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like '%Negotiator%' OR movie like '%Arlington Road%' OR movie like 'Contender, The' " sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like '%American Beauty%' OR movie like '%Mirror Has Two Faces%' OR movie like '%Blown Away%' " sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like '%Fisher King%' ORDER BY open DESC" max = 100 header = "Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges Films" tstyle = "release" skin = "bop" x = Drawtable(sqlstr,max,header,tstyle,skin) %>

With K-PAX opening in the top spot, Universal Films' number one opener ratio for 2001 continues to impress. Out of nine releases, only three have not opened in the number one spot: Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Josie and the Pussycats, and Head Over Heels. Only Corelli has stopped them from having seven consecutive number one openers. Major releases for Uni also look good in the upcoming months - they have Spy Game with Redford and Pitt and Russell Crowe's Beautiful Mind still to come, although if anything, both of these will most likely be 'legs' films.

<% sqlstr = "SELECT * FROM box WHERE movie like '%Mummy Returns%' OR movie like 'Jurassic Park III%' OR movie like'%American Pie 2%' " sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like '%Fast and the Furious%' OR movie like '%Musketeer, The%' OR movie like '%Captain Corelli''s Mandolin%' OR movie like '%K-Pax%' " sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like '%Josie and the Pussycats%' OR movie like '%Head over Heels%' ORDER BY open DESC" max = 100 header = "Recent Universal Releases" tstyle = "release" skin = "bop" x = Drawtable(sqlstr,max,header,tstyle,skin) %>

In second spot was 13 Ghosts from Dark Castle Entertainment and Warner Brothers Releasing. The well-timed horror flick opened strongly with an estimated $15.65 million from 2,781 screens, the widest opening of the four new releases this weekend. 13 Ghosts had a screen average of $5,627. Dark Castle has played this game before with Warner Brothers opening The House on Haunted Hill in 1998 to almost $16 million from 2,700 screens. Haunted Hill had a budget of $19 million and grossed $41 million domestically. WB will be looking for better legs from 13 Ghosts as it looks like the production cost and marketing expense has gone up since 1998.

Warner Brothers has been setting the table all year, waiting for the last two months of the release schedule. As has been discussed heavily in previous columns, WB hasn't seen any real breakout successes this year. They had a soft summer, and a moderate fall. Now the big three are stepping up to the plate: Harry Potter (probably a guaranteed $60m open, and a $400m grosser), Ocean's 11 starring every young, hot star in Hollywood, and Jim Carrey's The Majestic. It is entirely possible (and immediately imperative) for WB to gross more from these three films than their entire 2001 slate of 23 films. These films are a lock to gross a half a billion dollars over then next few months, and the scary thing is that Potter alone could do it himself.

<% sqlstr = "SELECT * FROM box WHERE movie like 'Cats and Dogs%' OR movie like 'Hearts in Atlantis%' OR movie like '%Summer Catch%' " sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like 'Rock Star%' OR movie like '%Osmosis Jones%' OR movie like '%American Outlaws%' " sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like '%Thirteen Ghosts%' ORDER BY open DESC" max = 100 header = "Recent Warner Bros. Openings" tstyle = "release" skin = "bop" x = Drawtable(sqlstr,max,header,tstyle,skin) %>

From Hell rumbled with Riding In Cars With Boys for the three spot. Hell grossed a measly $6.08 million (estimated) in its second weekend, down 45%, form its opening gross last weekend of $11 million. Fox can't be pleased with this result. Schedulers for Fox must have thought opening From Hell the weekend before Halloween would be smart as it wouldn't have much of a percentage drop in its second week of release. Obviously, this was not the case. From Hell looks to join the rest of the middling releases for Fox in 2001, with a total gross so far of $20.75 million.

<% sqlstr = "SELECT * FROM box WHERE movie like '%Say a Word%' OR movie like '%From Hell%' OR movie like '%Glitter%' " sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like '%Planet of the Apes%' OR movie like '%Kiss of the Dragon%' OR movie like '%Dolittle 2%' " sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like '%Moulin Rouge%' OR movie like '%Freddy Got Fingered%' " sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like '%Someone Like You%' OR movie like '%Say it Is%' OR movie like '%Monkeybone%' ORDER BY date DESC" max = 100 header = "Recent Fox Releases" tstyle = "release" skin = "bop" x = Drawtable(sqlstr,max,header,tstyle,skin) %>

In fourth this week was last week's number two film, Riding in Cars With Boys. Cars just missed leapfrogging Johnny Depp's From Hell to land in the four spot, grossing an estimated $6 million giving it a $2166 screen average from 2,770 screens. Cars was down 42% from last week as K-PAX would have taken part of its audience. It's somewhat early to be deciding the fate of this chick-flick, but the second week drop indicates a final tally in the $40-45 million dollar range.

In fifth was Training Day, losing further ground this week. The second WB release on the chart grossed an estimated $5.11 million, dropping 45% in the process. It's total now stands at $65 million. Last week I made an error predicting the final tally for Training Day, saying it would end up at the $65-70 million mark, but that should be $75-80 million. Thank you for your e-mails on the subject.

In sixth was the MGM caper flick Bandits. Bandits drooped down again dropping 39% compared to last week, grossing $5.05 million (estimated) from a still way too high 3,015 screens (average: $1,675). MGM recently reported their earnings for the fourth quarter, and the classic Movie Company reported a loss due to a change in accounting procedures, but would have had a record profit of $28.2 million without those changes. Legally Blonde and the release of Hannibal in theatres and on home video are a huge part of their up-tick in income. To get back to the subject, the same report said Bandits cost a whopping $80 million to produce, and so far has only grossed $32.1 million. The financial report can be read here: MGM Financial Report.

<% sqlstr = "SELECT * FROM box WHERE movie like 'Bandits%' OR movie like 'Jeepers Creepers%' OR movie like 'Original Sin%' " sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like 'Legally Blonde%' OR movie like '%What''s the Worst that Could Happen%' OR movie like '%Hannibal%' " sqlstr = sqlstr + " OR movie like '%Heartbreakers%' ORDER BY date DESC" max = 100 header = "Recent MGM Releases" tstyle = "release" skin = "bop" x = Drawtable(sqlstr,max,header,tstyle,skin) %>

In seventh this week was the Miramax film Serendipity starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsdale. The romantic dramedy grossed an estimated $3.90 million this week and its total now stands at $40.1 million. The film dropped 28% in its 4th week.

In eighth was the Dreamworks' flop The Last Castle. The Redford/Gandolfini movie does not seem to connecting with the audience, grossing $3.68 million, and dropping a whopping 48%. Dreamworks seems to not know quite what to do with this film, as their usual fantastic marketing seems to be sputtering with this release. The total box for The Last Castle now stands at $13 million and will have to push to get that number to $25 million.

The battle for the last two spots on the chart was intense between two new entries, On The Line and Bones, but was also intense between two hangers-on: Corky Romano and Don't Say a Word. Current estimates have Bones in the nine spot, the horror flick with Snoop Dogg with an estimated gross is $2.95 million, and because the film opened on Wednesday, it has a total of $3.7 million.

Corky Romano grabbed the tenth spot with $2.98 million. Corky's total now stands at $20.2 million.

On The Line, the new film with the stars of N'Sync, ended up in 11th with $2.3 million (a not entirely bad screen average of $2,556 from 900 screens).

Last year was a somewhat strange box office weekend. Meet the Parents was a big surprise at number one, grossing $15.05 million, crossing the $100 million mark after only 24 days of release. The other surprise was the flops of the opening films. Blair Witch Project 2 opened to $13.22 million from 3,317 screens, the other two, Lucky Numbers with John Travolta and the kids flick The Little Vampire both failed to cross the $6 million dollar mark, opening at $5.72 million and $4.54 million respectively. Both films opened on more than 2,000 screens.

Compared to last year, the 2001 weekend was up 3.37%. In 2000, the top 12 films grossed $70.99 million over the October 27-29th weekend. This year the top 12 grossed a similar $73.38 million. Compared to last week this year, the top 12 was up 1.05%.

Next week is an extremely key box office weekend. It's the beginning of November and the big guns from the movie studios are ready to come out. Disney and Pixar are spreading Monsters Inc. out everywhere next weekend. Look for that film to gobble up at least 3,100 screens next weekend as it tries to draw as much audience as it can before Harry Potter weekend on November 16th. Also debuting are the poorly-marketed Domestic Disturbance, with the star of the aforementioned Lucky Numbers and the effects-fest flick The One with Jet Li opening as well. Kevin Kline's Life as a House expands next week as well after finishing with $294K from 29 screens, for an average of $10,138.

Check out BOP's Release Schedule for all of November's films.

Top 10 for Weekend of October 26-28, 2001
Number of Sites
Change in Sites from Last
Estimated Gross ($)
Cumulative Gross ($)
13 Ghosts
From Hell
Riding in Cars with Boys
No Change
Training Day
The Last Castle
Corky Romano
On the Line



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