WEEKEND BOXOFFICE REPORT: No. 1 'Monsters' Is Fastest Animated Film to Hit $100 Million; 'Shallow Hal' Surfaces at No. 212 Nov, 2001 By: Staff Reporter
The sophomore outing for Buena Vista's Monsters, Inc. during the Veterans Day weekend proved anything but scary as the CG-animated family film from Pixar dropped a scant 26% from its debut frame and brought home an estimated $46.2 million. The slim drop was especially impressive considering the lofty height whence it fell -- a staggering $62.6 million opening.
Fox's Planet of the Apes, Universal's The Mummy Returns and New Line's Rush Hour 2 each opened with more than $60 million during the summer, and each suffered a second-weekend drop of 50% or more. Aiding Monsters in its strong hold was the factor that 90% of schools nationwide are closed today because of the Veterans Day holiday, giving the film a stronger-than-usual Sunday gross.
Monsters crossed the $100 million mark Saturday during its ninth day in release, the fastest such start for an animated film, beating Buena Vista's The Lion King and Toy Story 2 and DreamWorks' Shrek, each of which took 11 days to reach that mark. Monsters is the 14th film released this year to surpass $100 million. Its estimated total is a staggering $122.8 million after 10 days.
Fox's Shallow Hal demonstrated considerable depth at the box office during its debut. The Peter and Bobby Farrelly-helmed comedy exceeded expectations by landing in the second spot with an estimated $23.3 million. Gwyneth Paltrow and Jack Black star in the PG-13 rated film, which prerelease tracking saw grossing in the $17 million range. It was the second-biggest opening for the Farrelly brothers behind Fox's Me, Myself & Irene, which debuted last year with $24.2 million.
Warner Bros.' Heist was the weekend's other new wide release. The Gene Hackman starrer, helmed by David Mamet and produced by Franchise Pictures, pocketed an estimated $8 million to take the fifth slot. The opening was the biggest and widest to date for Mamet, and the action-thriller generated solid reviews, which Warners distribution executives hope will translate into positive word-of-mouth during the coming weeks.
New Line's Life as a House added 1,200 theaters during its third weekend as the Kevin Kline starrer nailed down an estimated $3.7 million from 1,288 locales and ascended to the eighth slot. The Irwin Winkler-helmed drama averaged a moderate $2,873 per theater and has grossed about $4.9 million to date.
Overall, it was another solid weekend at the box office in North America, the seventh consecutive "up" frame compared with the 2000 period. The estimated total for the top 12 films is $116.6 million, up a sterling 21% from the comparable period a year ago. With tracking for Warner Bros.' Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone off the charts for its debut Friday, next weekend appears to offer more of the same -- only more.
Sony's The One moved into the third slot with an estimated $9.1 million, dipping a disappointing 52% during its second frame. The Jet Li starrer has kicked in an estimated $31.9 million after 10 days.
Paramount's Domestic Disturbance, also in its sophomore weekend, grossed an estimated $8.5 million, slipping a lukewarm 39% from its debut. The drama starring John Travolta placed fourth and has amassed about $26 million to date.
Hal enjoyed a strong debut despite controversy about its subject matter, which deals with physical weight, inner beauty and beauty being in the eye of the beholder.
"I am delighted to say the least, especially with Monsters, Inc. being so monstrous in the marketplace," Fox president of domestic distribution Bruce Snyder said. "To open (Hal) to $23 million, with Monsters taking in $46 million, that's fantastic."
Snyder said the PG-13 rating for Hal was key to its reaching a broad audience. "It's a movie for everyone, and people want to laugh," he said. The audience skewed female and young; 58% of patrons were under 25 years of age, and 56% were female.
Universal's K-PAX and Warner Bros.' Thirteen Ghosts each played their third weekend. The former landed in the sixth slot with an estimated $6.2 million, off 38% from a week earlier, upping its total to about $40.3 million. The latter took in an estimated $4.2 million to place seventh, down 47%, taking its cume to about $34 million.
In the limited-release arena, USA Films' The Man Who Wasn't There added 130 theaters, bringing its total to 169, and found an estimated $970,402 during its sophomore frame. The drama starring Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand and James Gandolfini averaged $5,742 per theater. Helmed by Joel Coen, Man has collected an estimated $1.9 million and will expand Friday to about 250 theaters.
Miramax's Amelie added 45 locations, upping its total to 48, and pulled in an estimated $730,000 during its second weekend. The French-language film averaged a stellar $15,208 per theater and has taken in about $962,000 to date.
Fox Searchlight's Waking Life played in 66 venues and grossed an estimated $249,000. The animated/live-action film averaged $3,773 per theater and has taken in about $1.1 million to date. The film expands Friday to 70 markets and about 100 theaters.
During the comparable 2000 weekend, Sony's Charlie's Angels was the top film with $24.6 million, followed by New Line's Little Nicky with $15.3 million. The Hollywood Reporter projects the total for all films this weekend in the low- to mid-$120 million range, up considerably from last year's $104.8 million.
Thanks to the significant contribution from Monsters, national box office during the week ending Nov. 8 vaulted an impressive 36% from last year's comparable seven-day period ($188 million vs. $138.4 million). The year-to-date cume is running 10% ahead of the 2000 pace ($6.78 billion vs. $6.15 billion).
The year-to-date admission count gained a point on the previous weekend's exceptionally strong box office performance, moving from a 5% lead -- where it has hovered for most of the past 13 weeks -- to a nearly 6% advantage on last year's pace.
Other films in the top 10 during the weekend were Sony's Riding in Cars With Boys, which garnered an estimated $2.1 million to place ninth, moving its cume to about $27.8 million, and Warner Bros.' Training Day, which grossed an estimated $1.9 million to take the 10th slot, raising its total to about $72.5 million.
--Brian Fuson for The Hollywood Reporter