Miramax B.O. two-fer

Mini-major takes top spots with 'Diary,' 'Spy'

This story was corrected April 23, 2001.

Dear Diary, Had a boffo weekend. The soph session of Miramax/U’s “Bridget Jones’s Diary” edged out three-time victor “Spy Kids” with $10.5 million as the Renee Zellweger romancer added 610 playdates and lifted its cume to $25.7 million.

“Bridget” posted the year’s lowest total for a No. 1 pic, coming in just under the $10.6 million take for the second weekend of “The Wedding Planner” during February’s first frame. “Bridget” also racked up its second consecutive first place in the U.K. with $6.3 million.

Miramax, which is handling domestic chores, plans to add several hundred more playdates next weekend for “Bridget” to meet strong word-of-mouth demand, according to L.A. prexy Mark Gill. “Repeat business has already started with women taking husbands, boyfriends or groups of friends,” he added.

“Spy Kids” retained its spring stranglehold on family audiences with $10.2 million, down only 18% from its third outing, to push its total to $86.6 million and ensure a final take well past the $100 million milestone.

The performance also gave Miramax, which released “Kids” through its Dimension shingle, its first-ever weekend with the top two pics. Par’s third weekend of “Along Came a Spider” also maintained a healthy spin in third with $9.1 million, off only 21%, to lift the thriller’s cume to $47 million.

OK openers

But the session’s openers delivered middling performances with Par’s family comedy “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles” in fourth with $8 million, followed by 20th’s Tom Green gross-out fest “Freddy Got Fingered” with $7.3 million.

The R-rated “Freddy” opened in the wake of brutal reviews and a promo campaign focused mostly on Green, who starred, co-scripted and directed. The performance by “Freddy” caps a season of underwhelming numbers from raunchy entries aimed at young males including “Saving Silverman,” “Tomcats” and “Say It Isn’t So.”

Best returns from the recent crop have come from Sony’s “Joe Dirt,” which vacuumed up $5.4 million in its second outing to finish seventh and push its 12-day cume to $19.2 million.

‘Blow’ scores

By contrast, entries targeted outside the teen set continued to fare respectably. New Line’s third weekend of “Blow” scored sixth with $6 million, off just 25%, while Par’s sixth weekend of “Enemy at the Gates” rounded out the top 10 with $2.1 million, down 21%, to lift its cume to $46.5 million.

Fox Searchlight’s second weekend of “Kingdom Come” turned in solid figures in eighth with $4.7 million at 1,111 engagements, giving the reunion comedy the second-best per-site number in the top 10. It also continued to easily outperform U’s “Josie and the Pussycats” with $3.1 million in its soph outing.

MGM’s fifth weekend of “Heartbreakers” came in 11th with $1.9 million, followed by Sony’s fourth weekend of “The Tailor of Panama” with $1.6 million at 359 playdates, up 134 from last weekend, to lift its 24-day cume to $6.8 million.

Despite the awards season fading from memory, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” still showed legs in its 20th weekend with $1.5 million at 1,012 playdates, pushing its cume to $122.8 million.

Overall biz continued to post moderate numbers with $85 million for the weekend. That was off 5% from last weekend and 7% from the year-ago frame with both sessions benefiting from being Easter weekends; but year-to-date activity remains robust at $2.163 billion, up 11.7% over the same Y2K period.

Good start

“We had a tremendous first quarter and we’re not losing ground now,” said Dan Marks, VP of BO tracker AC Nielsen EDI. “The weekend was nothing spectacular, but it’s a decent showing, since we’re not overloaded with hits right now.”

Prospects for next weekend look similar with openings from Warner Bros.’ “Driven,” Screen Gem’s “The Forsaken,” USA’s “One Night at McCool’s” and New Line’s oft-delayed “Town and Country.” The biz should then spark when summer season launches May 4 with U’s “The Mummy Returns.”

On the arthouse circuit, Artisan Entertainment’s sexual drama “The Center of the World” generated heat with $72,000 at seven screens in Gotham, Los Angeles and San Francisco, as did its thriller “With a Friend Like Harry” with $27,500 at a pair of Gotham locales.

Sony Classics’ debut of period romance “The Luzhin Defense” also posted respectable figures with $72,896 at half a dozen playdates with more screens to be added Friday. United Artists’ rollout of small-town drama “The Claim” mined a solid $95,000 at 23 engagements.

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