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‘Hannibal,’ Lion swallow Feb.

Year to date, MGM ranks third among studios

“Hannibal” led MGM to the No. 1 spot in the February box office race with $134 million — already besting the Lion’s take of $104 million for all of 2000.

Total month’s receipts hit $577.5 million, beating the same frame’s previous year record by 13%.

With upcoming pics such as “Rollerball” and Martin Lawrence’s “What’s the Worst That Can Happen?,” visions of 1995 are dancing through MGM’s head. That’s when the Lion roared its loudest — $332 million in B.O.

Year to date, MGM ranks third among the studios with $154 million.

Commenting on the studio’s ups and downs at the box office, prexy of worldwide marketing Gerry Rich said, “Last year was a transitional time for the studio due to the executive changes. It takes time to put a solid slate together, and ‘Hannibal’ was just the beginning.”

Rich says the studio is very excited about the upcoming laffer “Heartbreakers.” “There hasn’t been a physical comedy like this since ‘Meet the Parents,’ ” Rich said.

Laffers helped

Yet as threatening as “Hannibal” was to the competition, other studios benefited from counter-programming, notably Paramount. The studio continues to hold the No. 1 spot at the box office with $197 million in the 2001 standings. A combination of comedies (“Down to Earth”) and teen pics (“Save the Last Dance”) continues to buoy its coffers.Paramount distrib prexy Wayne Lewellen added, “When the box office gets a momentum like this, it feeds on itself. Films expected to bow at $10 million open 10%-20% higher on account of the boom.”

Comedies laffed up more than any other genre at the box office ($174 million) last month. “Hannibal” terrified the most for horror-suspense pics ($159 million), while dramas acted up to the tune of $151 million, boosted by “Traffic” and “Cast Away.”

The top 10 films during February were “Hannibal” ($134 million), Sony Classics’ “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” ($38 million), Paramount’s “Down to Earth” ($36 million), Sony’s “The Wedding Planner” ($35.9 million), USA’s “Traffic” ($29 million), Fox’s “Cast Away” ($26 million), Disney’s “Recess: School’s Out” ($24 million), Miramax’s “Chocolat” ($23 million), Paramount’s “Save the Last Dance” ($22 million) and Warner’s “Valentine” ($20 million).

MARKET SHARE
STUDIO
B.O.*
% SHARE
MGM
133.7
23.2
Sony
79.4
13.7
Paramount
68.6
11.9
Warner Bros.
64.8
11.2
Buena Vista
52.4
9.1
Sony Classics
40.1
7.0
Fox
30.6
5.3
USA Films
30.3
5.2
Miramax
24.6
4.3
New Line
16.4
2.8
Universal
15.9
2.7
Par Classics
5.6
1.0
Lions Gate
4.1
0.7
Cloud Ten
3.8
0.7
Others
7.2
1.2
TOTAL
577.5
100

*in millions of $
Source: ACNielsen EDI

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