Weekend Box Office Results

‘Bringing Down House’ Leads Box Office
LOS ANGELES – “Bringing Down the House” led the box office for the third straight weekend, but the overall numbers dropped significantly during the first weekend of the war in Iraq.
The top 12 films grossed an estimated $83.9 million รณ a 29 percent drop from the same weekend a year ago.
“I think the war has impacted people’s desire to go out to the movies. I think people were at home with their families, they were watching the news and not a lot of movies did a lot of business,” said Rick Sands, chief operating officer of Miramax, which released “View from the Top,” a slapstick airline comedy starring Gwyneth Paltrow that debuted at No. 4.
But Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations, said the weekend’s drop-off from a year ago may have more to do with the films that were out than with the war. A year ago, “Blade 2” had a $32.5 million debut and “Ice Age” was in its second weekend.
“We can only guess, but I just think that this weekend turned out pretty much like we expected and any impact the war had is negligible,” Dergarabedian said.
“Bringing Down the House,” a comedy starring Steve Martin as an uptight lawyer and Queen Latifah as an escaped convict, topped the box office with $16.2 million, pushing its total take to $83.4 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The Stephen King adaptation “Dreamcatcher” opened in second place with $15.3 million. “Agent Cody Banks,” Frankie Muniz’s teen-spy flick, dropped from second to third place in its second weekend out with $9.3 million. “View from the Top” was in fourth place with $7.6 million.
The G-rated “Piglet’s Big Movie” opened in seventh place with $6.1 million while the Cuba Gooding Jr. comedy “Boat Trip” debuted a distance 10th with $3.7 million.
“There’s no question we all have things on our mind, and being able to get inside a theater and kick back and have someone really entertain you with belly laughter, it’s definitely a good thing,” said Chuck Viane, head of distribution for Disney, whose Touchstone Pictures released “Bringing Down the House.”
Benefiting from strong word of mouth, “Bringing Down the House” became the first film this year to stay No. 1 three weekends in a row and is on track to cross $100 million within weeks. It presented tough competition for the weekend’s new films, Dergarabedian said.
“It’s doing incredibly well,” he said. “The two newcomers that were comedies really got hurt.”
The film also likely pulled audiences from “Dreamcatcher,” which tells the story of four longtime friends (Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Timothy Olyphant and Damian Lewis) who communicate telepathically.
Sunday’s Oscars ceremony should boost sales for the winning films, and three big new openings could mean strong box office next weekend. The comedy “Head of State,” starring Chris Rock and Bernie Mac, opens against the sci-fi thriller “The Core” and “Basic,” John Travolta’s military thriller.
Here are the estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. “Bringing Down the House,” $16.2 million.
2. “Dreamcatcher,” $15.3 million.
3. “Agent Cody Banks,” $9.3 million.
4. “View from the Top,” $7.6 million.
5. “The Hunted,” $6.6 million.
6. “Chicago,” $6.2 million.
7. “Piglet’s Big Movie,” $6.1 million.
8. “Tears of the Sun,” $4.5 million.
9. “Old School,” $4 million.
10. “Boat Trip,” $3.7 million.