WEEKEND BOXOFFICE ADVANCE: Will Eddie Murphy's 'Dr. Dolittle 2' Tame No. 1 and Send 'Tomb Raider' to the Showers?22 Jun, 2001 By: Ed Ochs
Looking out for No. 1, Eddie Murphy's back again talking to animals who talk back in Dr. Dolittle 2, while Tomb Raider in its second frame hopes a sharp decline won't be steep enough to keep it from repeating at the top of the box office this weekend.
Three years after Murphy's remake of Doctor Dolittle hit $144.1 domestically and $290 million worldwide, Fox launches the PG sequel, which also stars the voices of Lisa Kudrow, Steve Zahn and Norm Macdonald. DD2 has to vie for family viewing attention with Disney's animated adventure Atlantis and DreamWorks' worldbeater Shrek, now in its record-breakling $200 million victory lap this week.
Universal's back on track with the provocative street-racing action-drama The Fast and the Furious, starring fiery newcomers Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Rick Yune and rapper Ja Rule. Directed by Rob Cohen (Daylight, The Skulls), the PG-13 car-centric adrenaline-booster could rally teen and young adults as well as the thrill-seeking MTV crowd. Well advertised and packing street-level potential, The Fast and the Furious could accelerate fast and cross the finish line ahead of some veteran box office drivers at the races this weekend.
The question is: How much clout does Tomb Raider have left? Is it "Go on to the next level" or "Game over"? Movies based on video games, such as Mortal Kombat, don't offer much longevity. Tomb Raider's built-in fan base probably has already seen the film, and the likelihood of nongamers being drawn to the movie on its own merits are minimal at best. A sharp decline will still push Paramount's Tomb Raider to a 10-day total of around $90 million -- and that's still a bull's-eye for big game hunting in the Hollywood jungle.
Disney's Atlantis didn't make any big waves in its debut last weekend, and facing off against Eddie Murphy opening in Dr. Dolittle 2 could send a huge wave going the other way. Atlantis won't go under, not with the Disney pumping machine to keep it afloat, but it will ride a little lower in the water from here on in.
For Shrek lovers only: The DreamWorks' all-timer should exit the weekend with around $213 million.
For Pearl Harbor doubters only: The Buena Vista megahype will exit the weekend with around $170 million.