Rat Pack blackjack

'Ocean's Eleven' heists $39 mil as Warner Bros. pix go 1-2

This article was corrected on Dec. 10, 2001.

Warner Bros.’ casino-heist laffer “Ocean’s Eleven” hit the box office jackpot this weekend with an estimated $39.3 million, the biggest three-day December bow ever.

Distrib also took second place with some $14.8 million over the fourth weekend of release for blockbuster “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Top two grossers repped 61% of all domestic B.O. this weekend.

Warners is No. 1 in annual domestic market share so far and a good bet to win the crown for the year. Studio passed $1 billion in 2001 grosses this week and has a shot at breaking an all-time record of $1.26 billion set by Sony in 1997.

“Ocean’s,” a Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”) update of the 1960 Rat Pack original, has won positive reviews for a glossy, hip feel and fun antics of topliners George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. Thesps have been tireless on promo circuit, even preeming pic for American troops at a military base in Turkey.

“Ocean’s” played best with young femmes but skewed slightly older overall, Warners distrib topper Dan Fellman said.

Best December bow

“Ocean’s’ ” perf bested $33.6 million opening by Mel Gibson romancer “What Women Want” over last year’s Dec. 15 frame. It is exceeded in month’s annals only by the $39.8 million bow of Tom Hanks starrer “Cast Away” over last year’s four-day Christmas frame.

Warners has debuted eight pics at No. 1 this year, the most of any distrib. Studio has held the top spot in weekend box office for 11 frames.

Distrib still has another notable wide release yet to bow, with Jim Carrey starrer “The Majestic” set to unspool Dec. 21. But more immediately, “Ocean’s” could see some choppy B.O. waters next weekend, when Par launches Tom Cruise / Penelope Cruz starrer “Vanilla Sky.”

This weekend’s industrywide B.O. was roughly flat with the year-ago sesh at $88 million, according to data from tracker ACNielsen EDI. In a year-to-date comparison, 2001 is 9% of last year at $7.41 billion in total B.O.

‘Enemy’ scarred

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox’s “Behind Enemy Lines” was battled-scarred by a hefty 54% drop in its soph sesh at an estimated $8.1 million in third place this weekend. Exec veep distrib Rick Meyerson said adults seemed preoccupied by the “Ocean’s” opening.

“It’ll settle down next weekend,” Meyerson said.

Disney/Pixar’s family tooner “Monsters, Inc.” absorbed a modest 27% fall in finishing No. 4 over its sixth weekend with $6.7 million. But another military actioner — Universal’s “Spy Game” — was wounded by a harsh 58% drop in its third frame and finished fifth with $4.6 million.

At the bottom of the table, it appears Paramount’s “Domestic Disturbance” may be played out after grossing less than $1 million in 10th place. John Travolta starrer has grossed only $43.8 million through six frames.

Among limited releases, MGM/UA’s “No Man’s Land” grossed an estimated $23,000 from a pair of Gotham engagements. Bosnian War drama widens to L.A Friday and eight markets Dec. 21.

‘Baran’ venture

Miramax’s “Baran” grossed an estimated $19,999 in bowing at single theaters in Gotham and L.A. as part of a one-week Academy-consideration run for Iranian drama.

IFC’s “The Business of Strangers,” also positioning itself for kudos considerations, rang up $67,348 from eight opening engagements, or a friendly $8,418 per playdate. Drama expands into top-10 markets on Friday.

Miramax’s “In the Bedroom” added one theater for a total six and grossed $80,000, or a sleepy $13,300 per venue. Cume lies at $372,000 for Sissy Spacek starrer, which rolls into 50 theaters on Christmas.

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