‘Pie 2’ warms U

Month betters Sept. '00 by 12%

HOLLYWOOD — Three broad-playing pics this past weekend helped September’s B.O. of $469 million beat last year’s frame by 12%, largely allaying fears that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks would suppress attendance.

Summer champ Universal ruled the month with a combo of summer carryover “American Pie 2” and new entry “The Musketeer.” Its tally of $72 million nipped Paramount’s by just $1 million.

Disney, which finished ninth for the month with $25 million, undoubtedly lost ground due to its reskedding of “Big Trouble.” The Barry Sonnenfeld pic was originally set to bow over the weekend of Sept. 21-23 against Warner Bros.’ “Training Day” and Fox’s “Glitter.” (“Training Day” also got pushed back into October due to current events.)

“Big Trouble,” a broad comedy toplining Tim Allen and Rene Russo had some ingredients of a worthy counterprogramming bid. But pre-attack numbers say otherwise. On Sept. 10, studio marketing reports showed males skewing heavily toward “Training Day,” while overall tracking for “Big Trouble” ranked third behind tracking for “Glitter,” which barely cleared $2 million over its opening weekend.

The sleepy September box office didn’t alter studios’ rankings in the annual B.O. race. Results for U and Par furthered their first- and second-place status for 2001 to date — U with $793 million, Par with $680 million.

MGM leapfrogged DreamWorks into the eighth spot overall at $400 million thanks to a stellar Labor Day showing for “Jeepers Creepers.”

The top 10 pics of for the period of Aug. 31-Sept. 30 were as follows: Miramax/Dimension’s “The Others,” $37 million; MGM’s “Jeepers Creepers,” $36 million; New Line’s “Rush Hour 2,” $32 million; U’s “American Pie 2,” $28 million; Par’s “Hardball,” $26 million; U’s “The Musketeer,” $26 million; Par’s “Rat Race,” $25 million; Sony/Screen Gems’ “Two Can Play That Game,” $21 million; Disney’s “The Princess Diaries,” $19 million; and Fox’s “Don’t Say a Word,” $17 million.

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