No kidding: ‘Spy’ puts Miramax atop April

Overall monthly receipts up 200g from previous year

April showers brought box office flowers to Miramax.

The distrib grabbed the No. 1 spot, racking up $108 million April 2-29 thanks to “Spy Kids” ($67 million) and “Bridget Jones’s Diary” ( $36 million).

Overall, the month’s receipts tallied $462.9 million, $200,000 above last April’s take. Spring grosses have lagged about 4% behind the year-earlier season.

In recent years, the most successful live-action kidpics have been those based on popular franchises — think “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “101 Dalmatians.” So how the heck did a bunch of unknown kids –along with Antonio Banderas — kick so much B.O. butt?

Miramax saw “Spy Kids” as strong counterprogramming and put together a winning television campaign aimed at kids and their moms.

“Kids love this picture because it shows them beating the ‘bad guys’ in a way that adults could never pull off,” said Miramax worldwide distribution chairman Rick Sands.

Paramount came in second for the month with an $86 million take from middleweight grossers such as “Along Came a Spider,” which brought in $55 million. Studio still sits atop the year-to-date market share charts with $342 million.

Spring slowdown

April is usually a snoozer at the box office; no release during that month has ever surpassed $20.5 million in its opening weekend. According to ACNielsen EDI, only one April release in the past decade, 1993’s “Indecent Proposal,” has gone on to pass the $100 million mark. On a month-to-month basis, April has experienced a 15% decline at the B.O. over the past five years compared to March receipts.

In recent years, studios have attempted to jumpstart summer during the final weekend of April with popcorn pics, resulting in $20 million bows for Fox’s “Entrapment” in 1999 and Universal’s “U-571” last year.

That strategy didn’t work last weekend. Warner Bros. took a shot at pre-summer glory with Sylvester Stallone racing pic “Driven,” but it bowed with a meager $12 million.

After “Spy Kids” and “Along Came a Spider,” the rest of the month’s top 10 included New Line’s “Blow” ($40 million), Miramax/Universal’s “Bridget Jones’s Diary” ($36 million), Sony’s “Joe Dirt” ($23 million), Fox Searchlight’s “Kingdom Come” ($19 million), Warner Bros.’ “Pokemon 3” ($16 million), Fox’s “Someone Like You” ($15.8 million), MGM’s “Heartbreakers” ($15.3 million) and Par/Mandalay’s “Enemy at the Gates” ($14 million).

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