'Hardball' takes pennant with estimated $8.2 mil
All that’s “Glitter” was not gold.
And is it any surprise? Twentieth Century Fox pic bowed to poor reviews in a weak box office frame undermined further by the drumbeat of impending war, and fortunes of Mariah Carey starrer were tarnished additionally by topliner’s recent hospitalization.
So, in the second weekend since the U.S. was hit by terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, Paramount’s gritty sandlot drama “Hardball” again won the B.O. pennant with an estimated $8.2 million in its soph sesh.
“Glitter,” the weekend’s only wide opener — albeit in an unimpressive 1,202 theaters — could do no better than 11th place with $2.5 million.
“This may partly be a function of the times we’re in,” Fox distrib prexy Bruce Snyder said.
Fox has domestic rights on pic, and Sony the foreign.
No. 2 on the weekend was Miramax/Dimension suspenser “The Others,” a word-of-mouth creeper that grossed $5.2 million and its best ranking to date coming during its seventh frame.
“It just keeps on going,” Miramax marketing veep David Kaminkow observed.
Sony’s Leelee Sobieski starrer, “The Glass House,” finished third with an estimated $4.4 million in its soph sesh.
Industrywide, the weekend’s $59 million in total grosses was off 11% from the previous frame and 6% from a year ago, when Sony’s “Urban Legends: Final Cut” topped openers with $8.5 million.
In a year-to-date comparison, 2001 remains 9% ahead of the same period of last year at $5.86 billion, according to data from box office tracker ACNielsen EDI. Prexy Tom Borys said the absence of big new release affected overall B.O.
“It felt like people were looking for something to go see,” he mused.
On the move
A couple of pics previously set for wide bows this weekend were pulled after the recent dramatic news events.
Disney’s “Big Trouble” laffer, which has a suitcase bomb as a key plot point, was delayed indefinitely by content concerns. And Warner Bros.’ “Training Day” drama was bounced to Oct. 5 to allow more pre-release marketing — moving into a slot abandoned by Warners’ terrorist-themed “Collateral Damage.”
Paramount Classics had set a limited opening of Edward Burns’ “Sidewalks of New York” for this weekend, but nixed those plans because pic shows a sparkling cityscape at a time Manhattan is beset by real-life upheaval.
“Glitter,” which tells of a pop music diva’s rise to fame, was originally set to bow over the long Labor Day frame. Debut was postponed to allow Carey to recover from a bout of exhaustion, but plans to enlist her thereafter for pre-release publicity came asunder after singer was hospitalized a second time. The sales figures from the bow of the film’s soundtrack, the singer’s first release since her split with Sony, were well below her usual numbers.
“Glitter” repped Carey’s debut as a topliner. She had a small part in 1999 laffer “The Bachelor.”
8X Entertainment’s religious thriller “Megiddo: The Omega Code 2” bowed at $1.5 million from 314 engagements, for a solid $4,799 per venue. Distrib met some exhib resistance on apocalyptic-themed pic.
Meanwhile, a handful of summer films got brief re-expansions this weekend but none finished in the top 10.
MGM’s “Legally Blonde” laffer grossed $1.3 million from 1,304 playdates.
Sony/Revolution laffers “America’s Sweethearts” and “The Animal” rang up $650,000 and $450,000, respectively, from 1,013 and 667 engagements each. Weekend proceeds for both pics are tagged for disaster-relief funds.
And DreamWorks’ tooner “Shrek” saw another $659,000 from 1,018 playdates. That moved blockbuster’s domestic cume to $264.7 million.
Lions Gate delivered the weekend’s best per-theater average with the limited bow of Stephen Frears-helmed “Liam.” Working-class Brit drama grossed $46,000 from seven locations ($6,571 average) as it awaits an expansion into top-20 markets on Oct. 5.
Elsewhere in the specialty market, United Artists’ black comedy “Ghost World” orbited to another 26 theaters for a total 373 and grossed $373,000, or $2,916 per venue. Cume revolved to $4.7 million.
Paramount Classics’ “An American Rhapsody” drama grossed $54,000 in expanding 16 theaters to 54, for an average $1,222 per site and a $586,000 cume.
Three reasonably major pics open wide next weekend: Fox unspools its Michael Douglas suspenser “Don’t Say A Word;” Par sends out “Zoolander,” a laffer starring Ben Stiller as male model and CIA pawn; and Warners/Castle Rock distribs Stephen King-novel adaptation “Hearts in Atlantis,” toplined by Anthony Hopkins.
“Atlantis” was sneaked during the weekend at 500 locations, and exit interviews were studio’s best ever, said Warners distrib boss Dan Fellman. Some 93% rated Scott Hicks-helmed pic “very good” or “excellent,” with “Hearts” skewing older and 53% femme, Fellman said. Results mean Warners will distrib into 1,700 theaters instead of a previously planned 1,200, he added.
The release sked remains in flux beyond next weekend.
In the latest maneuver, DreamWorks said Friday it will bump the bow of Robert Redford starrer “The Last Castle” one week to Oct. 19. Move will allow more pre-release promo, after TV spots were stripped from webs during around-the-clock disaster coverage.