‘Scooby’ lifts WB in June

Studio leads summer B.O. race

HOLLYWOOD — In a June market filled with “Star Wars,” Tom Cruise and Tom Clancy, an animated dog made the difference for Warner Bros.

Thanks to “Scooby-Doo” and a handful of niche demo grossers such as “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” and “Juwanna Mann,” Warner Bros. scored the box office crown for the frame of May 31-June 30 with $222 million.

Going into the July 4 weekend, Warner Bros. leads the summer B.O. race with $255 million, followed by Fox with $240 million and Sony with $185 million.

A June high of $961 million, fueled by 183 films, bested last year’s take by 13%. June’s average take for a No. 1 pic was $35 million, up $2 million from last year. No. 1 opening films held slightly better in their second weeks, averaging a 44% drop compared with 2001’s 47% drop.

“A month’s performance like this is always attributed to good film product,” Nielsen EDI exec veep Dan Marks said. “You can boost ticket prices all you want, but if the public doesn’t think the pictures are adequate, you can charge $2 and they still won’t come.”

Fox generated the bulk of its June coffers from two tentpoles, “Minority Report” and “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones,” for a second-place rank of $160 million.

Last year, May pics continued to play dominantly throughout June, with “Shrek” ranking as the frame’s top opener with $108 million. This June, the top May carryover was “Clones.”

The top 10 films of June were “Scooby-Doo,” $124 million; Par’s “Sum of All Fears,” $105 million; Disney’s “Lilo & Stitch,” $77 million; Fox/Lucasfilm’s “Clones,” $75 million; Fox/DreamWorks’ “Minority Report,” $73 million; Universal’s “The Bourne Identity,” $73 million; Sony’s “Spider-Man,” $56 million; “Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” $55 million; DreamWorks’ “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,” $43 million; and U’s “Undercover Brother,” $38 million.

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