'Analyze' sequel shrinks, but 'Empire' conquers
James Bond took his own advice this weekend, as MGM 007 actioner “Die Another Day” delayed its demise atop the box office rankings with a third straight No. 1 perf.Bond pic’s estimated $13 million haul topped booty from Warner Bros.’ sequel Mob laffer “Analyze That.” Robert De Niro-Billy Crystal starrer bowed limply with just $11.3 million over a lackluster moviegoing weekend. Warners’ “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” finished third with an estimated $10 million in its fourth frame. Family fantasy suffered a precipitous 69% fall from its Friday-Sunday perf a week ago, in the biggest plunge among top 10 finishers. Universal/Arenas’ urban actioner “Empire” repped a weekend bright spot, grossing an estimated $6.3 million from a barely wide 876 engagements to grab fourth place on the frame. John Leguizamo starrer rung up an average $7,235 per playdate, leading all wide releases. Among limited releases, Sony/Intermedia’s quirky Meryl Streep-Nicolas Cage starrer “Adaptation” rung up $400,000 from seven locations in Gotham, L.A. and Toronto. Perf repped a phenomenal per-site average of $57,143. Biz off 9% from 2001 Industrywide, the weekend repped a 9% downtick from the same frame a year ago, with $80 million in total estimated grosses, according to B.O. tracker Nielsen EDI. Sesh marked a big 46% drop from last weekend. But the falloff was well within the historical range for the first frame following Thanksgiving weekend. Year-to-date, 2002 is 12% ahead of the same portion of 2001, with $8.32 billion in total grosses. This weekend’s five soph seshers posted results generally as uninspired as a week earlier. Disney tooner “Treasure Planet” dropped 53% to $5.7 million in fifth place. Pricey pic’s 10-day cume reached just $23.8 million. Sony’s more modestly budgeted animated feature “Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights” fell 45% — the smallest drop of the top 10 pics — to $5.2 million in seventh place. Cume hit $20.4 million. Twentieth Century Fox sci-fier “Solaris” departed the top ranks with a 66% plunge in its second week to $2.3 million. George Clooney starrer stretched cume to $13.9 million. Miramax/Dimension horror pic “West Craven Presents: They” dropped 52% to $1.6 million with a $10.9 million cume. And Paramount actioner “Extreme Ops” slid 65% to $775,000 with a $4.4 million cume. ‘Adaptation’ is huge Crix kudos shaped the early success of “Adaptation,”, with expansions set for Dec. 20 and Jan. 10, Sony distrib prexy Rory Bruer said. “We anticipate the momentum continuing,” Intermedia’s Jerry Hausfater enthused. Elsewhere in the specialty market, Miramax futuristic suspenser “Equilibrium” grossed $528,000 from 301 engagements, or just $1,754 per playdate. Miramax’s Oz drama “Rabbit-Proof Fence” held in nine theaters and grossed $69,000, or a solid $7,667 per venue. Distrib’s Michael Caine starrer “The Quiet American” — which previously wrapped an impressive Academy-consideration run in Gotham — grossed $22,000 from weekend’s twin L.A. exclus for an encouraging $11,000 per engagement. United Artists accelerated drama “Personal Velocity” by 15 theaters for a total 20 and grossed $94,000, or $4,725 per venue, with a $207,000 cume. Artisan added an engagement for its music docu “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” and grossed $132,000 from a total 55 playdates, or $2,400 per engagement, with an $825,000 cume. Paramount Classics upped drama “The Last Kiss” by eight theaters for a total 13 and grossed $39,456, or $3,035 per venue with a $173,000 cume. Rainforest drama “Pandora’s Box” re-entered the market with 43 new runs after a month’s hiatus and grossed $85,000, or $2,100 per site, for an $832,000 cume. Newmarket’s “Real Women Have Curves” broadened by eight locations for a total 160 and grossed $331,159, or $2,073 per venue, with a $4.3 million cume. And IFC’s “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” padded its run by 35 playdates in its 34th weekend for a total 1,257 engagements — still well into wide release — to gross $2 million. Per-venue perf of $1,603 fattened cume to an amazing $213.3 million. Sequel slimmer Opening for “Analyze That” underperformed franchise original by $7.1 million, or 39%. “It certainly didn’t reach our expectations,” Warners distrib prexy Dan Fellman said. “But the holiday is in front of us; we’ll just have to try and leg it out.” Pic skewed 52% female and a whopping 67% over age 35. “Empire’s” auds were 52% Hispanic and 18% African-American. “The machine of Universal and the machine of Arenas are well tuned to the market,” Arenas prexy Santiago Pozo said. “And we know how to reach this market.” U marketing maven Adam Fogelson also lauded a “great” opening. “We found a niche (and) we’re serving that niche,” Fogelson said. Meanwhile, the latest “Harry Potter” also will have to hope for resurgent holiday B.O. if it’s to approach the kind of run posted by the franchise original. Sesh grosses for “Chamber of Secrets” brought its four-week perf to $213.9 million — nothing to shake a magic broomstick at, of course. But the comparable 24-day domestic cume for “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was $239.7 million. That means sequel trails original by 11% to date. “Sorcerer’s Stone,” brought in a total $317 million domestically. “Chamber” would reap $282 mil if it continues to trail its predecessor’s perf by the same percentage.