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B.O. ruled by animal instincts

'Cats and Dogs' rule; 'Scary' sequel 2nd

HOLLYWOOD — It was raining like cats and dogs in much of the country, and that sent big numbers of holiday revelers to see Warner Bros.’ family laffer of the same name on Independence Day.

Following the No. 1 perf by “Cats and Dogs” were second- and third- place finishes by Miramax’s bowing horror sequel “Scary Movie 2” and Warners/DreamWorks’ “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” which today begins its soph sesh in release.

“Cats & Dogs” treed $9 million in box office from 3,040 locations Wednesday. “Scary Movie 2” scared up an estimated $8.2 million from 3,220 engagements. And “A.I.,” which continued in 3,242 venues, plugged into $5.2 million in holiday B.O. to up six-day cume to $42.7 million.

“Weather was a big factor on Wednesday — we had a lot of rain around the country, and that was just great for box office,” Warner Bros. distrib prexy Dan Fellman said.

He added that upticks in daily grosses for “A.I.” over each of the past three days bode well for pic’s second-weekend prospects and said the “C&D” bow was also encouraging.

“A.I.,” which has drawn dramatically mixed reviews, has created word of mouth as a result of its “provocative” subject matter, Fellman said. Pic, which Spielberg took over from the late Stanley Kubrick, tells the tale of a mechanical boy who yearns to be human.

“People continue to talk about it, whether they liked it, loved it or didn’t like it,” Fellman said. “People just want to see it.”

No. 4 on the Fourth of July was 20th Century Fox’s sequel laffer “Dr. Dolittle 2,” with $2.9 million. Universal street-racing actioner “The Fast and the Furious” was one spot back with $2.6 million.

Meanwhile, Fox adds another wide release to the theatrical competish this weekend, when chopsocky actioner “Kiss of the Dragon” bows at 2025 playdates. Jet Li/Bridget Fonda starrer is expected to do business somewhere in the teen millions and thus could fall just below Wednesday’s top three finishers in the weekend pecking order.

Among limited openers, Lions Gate laffer “Lost and Delirious” hits seven theaters in Gotham, L.A. and San Francisco, and Miramax laffer “Everybody’s Famous” gets four Gotham and L.A. engagements.

SUMMER’S STRIDE TO A BILLION
Last weekend the summer’s B.O. hit its first billion in a record 37 days tying the record set in 1999.
Year Number of Days
2001 37 Days
1999 37 Days
2000 39 Days
1998 46 Days
1997 49 Days

OPENINGS

Title Engagements
Scary Movie 2 (Miramax) Bowed Wednesday

3,220

Cats & Dogs (Warner Bros.) Bowed Wednesday

3,040

Kiss of the Dragon (Fox)

2.025

Jump Tomorrow (IFC)
9

Lost and Delirious (Lions gate)
7

The Vertical Ray of the Sun (SPC) LA/NY
4

YEAR TO DATE*

(in millions of $)
3,452

’00
(thru July 2)

3,716

’01
(thu July 1)

RELEASE DATES AND CHANGES
As of July 5

Title
New date

Old date

IDP

Greenfingers
July 27

July 13

Innocence
Aug. 17

Aug.10l
Tortilla Soup
Aug. 24

Aug. 3.

MGM

Rollerball
1st qtr. ’02

Aug.173

MIRAMAX
Heaven
Dec. 7

Sept.14

NEW LINE

Knockaround Guys
Fall ’01

Aug. 31

Life as a House
Fall ’01

All About the Benjamins
Jan. 18

John Q Feb. 15 Nov. 2
Blade 2: Bloodhunt Mar. 22  
Cheaters May Sept. 14
Simone TBD Oct. 12
SONY

The New Guy
Nov. 16

Nov. 21

Master of Diguise
1st qtr. ’02

XXX
Summer ’02

Man of War 4th quarter ’02 Summer ’02

Bold indicates new release date

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