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WEEKEND BOXOFFICE REPORT: 'Cats & Dogs' Reigning No. 1, Nipping a Napping 'Scary Movie 2'

9 Jul, 2001 By: Ed Ochs

Talking animals rule! Cats & Dogs outdueled Scary Movie 2 in a battle of lightweights this weekend, rudely bouncing heavyweight A.I. out of the top spot where it lodged last week for a cup of coffee. If Scary 2 had co-starred a cursing parrot, if A.I> had a robotic dog programmed to talk, maybe things might have played out differently, but it was Cats & Dogs that yakked all the way to the top of the box office this weekend.

In a close upset, separated by less than $1 million, Warner Bros.’ PG Cats & Dogs grossed an estimated $21.7 million over the three-day weekend ($35.7 million over five days), while Miramax’s R-rated Scary 2 rang up $21 million ($34.5 million over five days). Both films opened last Wednesday. They ran neck and neck only because Cats & Dogs surprised by outperforming the most recent talking animal movie, the two-week-old Dr. Dolittle 2, and because Scary 2 failed to live up to expectations created by the $42.3 million bow of Scary Movie 1 last year.

Now it’s Cats & Dogs surging in the family market and Scary 2 pressing for adult audiences that may have had their fill with Scary Movie one short year ago.

And poor Spielberg. A.I fell to No. 3 with an estimated $14.1 million, bringing its 10-day total to $59.7 million, light years from Saving Private Ryan’s $73.4 million for the same period. A.I.’s flickering fortunes seem more reflective of a Stanley Kubrick film, both in subject matter and box office performance, than a Speilberg movie, suggesting A.I. has slipped into a crack his mainstream audience has decided not to traverse this time -- they're still holding out for E.T. 2 or Close Encounters of the Next Kind.

Kicking in at No. 4, the R-rated Kiss of the Dragon, starring Jet Li and Bridget Fonda, bowed with $13.6 million over the three-day weekend. Following up on last year’s Romeo Must Die, which opened with $18 million, Kiss of the Dragon continues to build Li as reigning martial arts action hero in the U.S.

Universal's PG-13 The Fast and the Furious rounds out the weekend's top five, rolling up an estmated $12.4 million to cross the $100 million mark and finish at $101.5 million. It’s the seventh film to pass $100 million this year.

Still grudgingly giving ground at No. 9, DreamWorks’ Shrek grossed an estimated $6 million over the weekend, bringing its grand domestic total to $240.6 million.

Even though Cats & Dogs did most of the barking this weekend, Dr. Dolittle 2, the “other” talking animal movie, still grossed $10.1 million. What does that tell you? Who needs talking people.

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