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WEEKEND BOXOFFICE REPORT: Now Serving Another Slice of 'American Pie 2'; 'Rat Race' Paces Newcomers at No. 3

20 Aug, 2001 By: Staff Reporter

In a replay of a week earlier, two late-summersequels held the top spots at the weekend box office in North America as Universal's American Pie 2 served up a second helping on top with an estimated $21.4 million, followed by New Line's Rush Hour 2 with an estimated $19.2 million.

Pie 2 slipped 53% during its sophomore frame, continuing the summer trend of larger-than-average second-weekend drops, while moving its 10-day cume to an estimated $87.6 million. Rush 2 dropped 42% during its third weekend, raising the estimated total for the Chris Tucker-Jackie Chan starrer to a stellar $164.8 million after 17 days.

As the summer begins to wind down, the weekend box office returned to somewhat more moderate year-to-year gains. After two weekends of exceptionally strong returns at the box office -- up 34% and 47%, respectively, compared with last year's comparable frames -- and a record nine-week stretch of$200 million-plus seven-day periods, this weekend's Golden Dozen gained 19% on thecomparable 2000 frame, still a fairly robust expansion.

As a result of the sensational sessions at theaters of late, this summer's box office holds an 11% lead on last year's pace, while the season's admission tally is up 7% on the 2000 frame.

None of the weekend's three new wide releases could displace the top two films; in fact, two of the freshmen pictures failed to reach the $10 million mark during their opening frames.

Of the weekend's new arrivals, Paramount's Rat Race turned in the best performance as the ensemble comedy landed in the third spot with an estimated $11.8 million from 2,550 theaters. The distributor said it is very happy with the opening for the Jerry Zucker-helmed picture, noting that itexpects the film to generate great word-of-mouth based on strong exit polls. The PG-13 rated Rat Race drew 60% females vs. 40% males, an audience divided evenly between the over- and under-25 years of age groups.

Dimension's The Others, starring Nicole Kidman, held the same position it did a week earlier as the frightfest landed in the fourth slot with an estimated $10.8 million, moving its 10-day total to about $32 million. Weekend boxoffice for the Alejandro Amenabar-helmed film slipped a slim 23% from its debut, an excellent hold that might be somewhat misleading as the distributor added 475 theaters to bring the title's count to 2,153.

Buena Vista's The Princess Diaries moved into the fifth slot with an estimated $9.5 million as the G-rated family film slipped a modest 33% during its third frame. The Julie Andrews-Anne Hathaway starrer helmed by Garry Marshall has earned a solid $70.1 million to date.

Universal's Captain Corelli's Mandolin, starring Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz, debuted in 1,594 theaters and grossed an estimated $7.1 million, good for sixth place. The John Madden-directed romantic drama arrived in the sixth slot and averaged a moderate $4,454 per theater.

The weekend's only other new arrival in wide release was Warner Bros.' American Outlaws, which saddled up in the eighth slot with an estimate of a bleak $4.8 million. The ensemble western film helmed by Les Mayfield, which played in 2,348 theaters, was produced by Morgan Creek.

Dimension reported strong sneaks for its comedy from director Kevin Smith, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Theaters reportedly were at 70%-75% capacity, and patrons gave the film high marks, with 85% in the top two boxes and 75%-80% definite-recommends. The final installment of thefilmmaker's New Jersey chronicles opens Friday.

The estimated total for the weekend's Golden Dozen is $103.1 million, up a solid 19% from the aggregate for the top 12 films during the comparable 2000 frame. The top films then were New Line'sThe Cell with $17.5 million and Paramount's The Original Kings of Comedy with $11.1 million. The Hollywood Reporter forecasts the total for all films this weekend in the $112 million-$117 millionrange, up from last year's $100.3 million.

National boxoffice for the week ending Aug. 16 rose a dramatic 44% from the comparable seven-day period a year earlier ($237.3 million vs. $164.8 million). Strong box office performances during recent weeks have pushed the year-to-date total to a nearly 10% advantage on last year's record pace ($5.31 billion vs. $4.84 billion). The estimated year-to-date admission count has followed suit and holds a nearly 5% edge on the 2000 pace.

In the limited-release arena, IDP's Innocence debuted in two theaters in New York and grossed anestimated $19,000. The Paul Cox-helmed romantic drama averaged a solid $9,500 per theater.

Fox Searchlight's The Deep End enjoyed a bountiful second weekend at the box office as the crime thriller added 52 theaters, bringing its total to 58, and grossed an estimated $657,000, averaging a solid $11,328 per theater. The Scott McGehee- and David Siegel-directed picture has taken in about $1 million after 12 days.

Miramax's Apocalypse Now Redux grossed an estimated $470,000 from 50 theaters during its thirdweekend. The drama averaged a strong $9,400 per theater, moving its cume to about $1.2 million.

Artisan's Made added 33 theaters, bringing its count to 161, and took home an estimated $375,000. The per-theater average was $2,329, and the cume to date stands at nearly $3.7 million.

Fine Line's Hedwig and the Angry Inch pulled in an estimated $255,000 from an additional 20 theaters, upping its tally to 70, for a per-theater average of $3,643. The music world-set drama has grossed about $1.6 million to date. Another Fine Line release, The Anniversary Party, crossed the $4 million mark during the weekend.

During its fourth weekend, First Look's Bread & Tulips tallied estimated receipts of $151,222 from 26 locations, seven more than the previous weekend, averaging $5,816 per theater and advancing the film's estimated total to $488,981.

Other films in the weekend's top 10 included Fox's Planet of the Apes in the seventh slot with anestimated $6.9 million, moving its cume to an estimated $161 million. Universal's Jurassic Park III took the ninth slot with an estimated $4.3 million, moving its total to about $168.2 million, followed in 10th place by MGM's long-legged Legally Blonde, which grossed an estimated $2.6 million during its sixth weekend, raising the estimated total for the comedy to a solid $83.3 million.

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