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'Scorpion King' Still Rules At Box Office

29 Apr, 2002 By: Staff Reporter

As expected, Universal's The Scorpion King extended its reign in the top spot for a second consecutive weekend as the actioner pulled in an estimated $17.6 million, down a stinging 51 percent from its debut. But while the drop from a week ago was fairly steep, the estimated cume after 10 days is a hefty $60.8 million.

Paramount's Changing Lanes held up well in its telling third weekend as the Ben Affleck-Samuel L. Jackson starrer grossed an estimated $9 million, down a modest 19 percent from a week ago. The suspense-thriller, helmed by Roger Michell, held the second spot for the second straight weekend and has amassed an estimated $44.6 million to date.

Two new wide releases vied for the third slot, with 20th Century Fox's Life or Something Like It just edging out New Line's Jason X to take the position. Life or Something Like It, a romantic comedy starring Angelina Jolie and Edward Burns and directed by Stephen Herek, took in an estimated $6.65 million. The New Regency production averaged $2,552 per theater from 2,606 locations.

After an absence of nearly a decade, Jason was back and arrived in the fourth spot with an estimated $6.5 million. The James Isaac-directed horror film was in 1,878 sites and had a better per-theater average than Life with $3,461. The 10th film in the Jason series, while far from blockbuster status, should end up being profitable in the long run as it carried an estimated negative cost of a relatively low $10 million-$11 million.

The second weekend of Warner Bros.' Murder by Numbers connected with an estimated $6.3 million, down a moderate 32 percent on its sophomore frame. The Sandra Bullock starrer, helmed by Barbet Schroeder, was in the fifth slot and has a cume of around $18.3 million after 10 days.

Business was in line with expectations for Jason X, according to executives at New Line, but was somewhat of a disappointment for Life or Something Like It. "There is no doubt we are disappointed with the gross, but female moviegoers, who were the primary audience and made up the bulk of the audience, responded very positively to the film," said Rick Myerson, executive vp/GSM for Fox. He noted that since there are not any female oriented films opening in the next few weeks, the holding power for Life should be strong.

Overall, it was another solid weekend at the boxoffice in North America as it marked the eleventh consecutive up session compared with last year, and with Sony's Spider-Man opening next weekend, the streak should continue.

As a result of the stellar returns at the ticket window, the year-to-date total for the national boxoffice is running a solid 15 percent ahead of last year at this time. The estimated total for this weekend's top 12 films was nearly $70 million, up a robust 27 percent from the comparable frame a year ago.

In the world of limited releases, Warner Bros.' The Salton Sea, starring Val Kilmer, made a strong showing as it debuted in 15 venues and grossed an estimated $175,000. The crime-thriller, helmed by D.J. Caruso in his feature debut, averaged a promising $11,700 per theater and will be expanding slightly on May 10 and May 17. The newly opened high-end ArcLight theaters in Los Angeles reported an estimated $29,900 in two days on Salton Sea, according to the distribution executives at Warners.

Sony Classics' Dogtown and the Z Boys opened in 20 locations in Los Angeles, New York and Phoenix this weekend and took in an estimated $111,170. The documentary about skateboarding averaged a cool $5,559 per theater.

IDP's Rain opened strongly as it took in an estimated $15,000 from one theater in New York. The Fireworks produced picture, a coming-of-age drama from New Zealand, opens in Los Angeles on May 3.

Lions Gate's Vulgar grossed an estimated $13,000 from two locations on its debut. The very black comedy averaged $6,500 per theater.

Two films in limited release from IFC expanded this weekend and had promising results. My Big Fat Greek Wedding added 33 locations, bringing the count to 141, and picked up an estimated $801,038, up 34 percent from its debut frame. The romantic comedy-drama averaged a hearty $5,681 per theater and has taken in about $1.6 million in 10 days.

Y Tu Mama Tambien was in 283 locations, 42 more than last weekend, and grossed an estimated $1 million, the same as one week ago. The Spanish language film averaged $3,534 per theater and has taken in approximately $7.2 million.

In the international market, Universal's upcoming About a Boy opened in the United Kingdom with a strong $2 million take on its first day of release, according to a studio spokesperson. The comedy, starring Hugh Grant and Toni Collette, opens in wide release in North America on May 17.

The estimated total for this weekend's top 12 films was $69.75 million. The Hollywood Reporter forecasts the total for all films this weekend to be in the low-to-mid $80 million area, up from last year's $67.8 million.

For the week ending April 25, the national boxoffice was up 26 percent from the comparable seven-day period ($137.5 million vs. $109 million), while estimated admissions for the year-to-date are running nearly 10 percent ahead of 2001.

– Brian Fuson

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