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WEEKEND BOXOFFICE REPORT: 'The Fast and the Furious' Runs Over 'Dr. Dolittle 2' in Race for No. 1

25 Jun, 2001 By: Hive News

You could almost smell the burning rubber as The Fast and the Furious, featuring fast cars and no stars, sped by Eddie Murphy's fuzzy-furry talking-animal comedy Dr. Dolittle 2 to win the race for No. 1. The swift competition lifted the box office to new June heights.

Universal’s zippy PG-13 street-racing yarn The Fast and the Furious, co-starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Rick Yune and rapper Ja Rule, opened with an eye-popping $41.6 million. Once again, a hot soundtrack is driving young moviegoers to theaters to catch the action that has captured the streets. The $30 million production has almost paid for itself, but isn't stopping there. It's now out to prove that The Fast and the Furious is a cultural phenomenon and not just a flashy car-wreck flick, and it's got a great head start on that challenge.

Not to belittle Dolittle 2, but Dr. Dolittle opened at No. 1 while 2 opened at No. 2. The bottom line is the sequel bowed with an estimated $26.7 million, and that’s not far off the original's $29 million debut. To its credit, the Fox yakking-animal movie weighed in against Atlantis and the colossus Shrek, while The Fast and the Furious followed in the smooth wake of Tomb Raider right to the finish line.

Last weekend’s No. 1 box office raider Tomb Raider fell to No. 3 with an estimated $20.2 million, still an impressive second weekend for the movie based on a video game. This total shouldn’t be mistaken as the sign of a movie about to stand on its own legs, but that’s not millions in Monopoly money, either. Angelina Jolie & Co. have grossed about $84.2 million in only 10 days, and even in decline, its built-in young audience having seen it and fled to The Fast and the Furious, Tomb Raider has earned its sequel stripes and opened some eyes to the screen possibilities of hit videogame content.

Still afloat in its second weekend in choppy waters, Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire landed at No. 4 with an estimated $13.2 million for a two-week total of $44.3 million. With a budget of around $90 million, Atlantis may be on course for break-even theatrically, but should add considerably to that total on DVD and tape. So, Atlantis requires no burial at sea or requiem as "The Lost Franchise," even though it will remain a few songs and a soundtrack short of being a big hit.

Once again, harder to kill than a charging rhino, DreamWorks’ Shrek refused to give ground, collecting an estimated $11 million while bringing its six-weekend total to $215.8 million. Over that time, Shrek has evolved from an CG-animated comedy to an E.T.-like pilgrimage for the whole family, invading Disney’s sacred The Lion King and Toy Story 2 territory along the way, and priming audiences for the sequel down the road.

Update for Pearl Harbor watchers: Buena Vista’s WWII romance shot down an estimated $7 million this weekend to bring its total to $172.1 million.

A hit in limited arthouse release is Fox Searchlight's Sexy Beast, starring Ben Kingsley, which nearly doubles its number of theaters this Friday to about 100.

Tumbling out of the top 10: Universal’s The Mummy Returns added an estimated $1.6 million, lifting its North American total to a stunning $196.2 million and about $350 million worldwide; and MGM’s Martin Lawrence-Danny DeVito not-so-funny comedy What’s the Worst That Could Happen? answered its own title question, making it a show business trivia winner, by costing $42 million to make and bringing home $30.3 million to date.

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