‘Spy Kids’ Outpaces ‘Seabiscuit’
LOS ANGELES – The big story at the weekend box office was not which movie came in first √≥ it was “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over” with $32.5 million √≥ but which of four possible contenders placed second.
Two new films √≥ the Angelina Jolie adventure sequel “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider √≥ The Cradle of Life” and the true-life racehorse drama “Seabiscuit” √≥ became locked in a virtual dead heat for the follow-up slot with the recent releases “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” and the action-comedy “Bad Boys II.”
Weekend earnings estimates Sunday placed all the films within $900,000 of each other. “There are four films here that could literally change places on Monday when we get the final figures,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.
Although No. 2 appeared too close to call, the prospective victor was “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which estimates showed earning $22.4 million, followed by “Bad Boys II” with $22 million.
The “Tomb Raider” sequel ranked fourth with $21.8 million, less than half what the original film earned in its opening weekend June 2001, when it debuted with $47.7 million. Dergarabedian characterized the second “Tomb Raider” performance as further evidence of the unreliability of sequels this summer, comparing it with “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.”
“Seabiscuit” came in fifth this weekend, with $21.5 million, although Universal Pictures argued the movie was running in a different race, since it showed on at least 1,200 fewer locations than each of its rivals.
Nikki Rocco, Universal’s head of distribution, characterized this weekend as a warm-up run for the movie, which will expand to more theaters next weekend. “This was to get the word of mouth to really sell the film,” she said. “This picture is in for the long distance.”
“Seabiscuit” was shown at about 1,989 sites, compared with “Spy Kids 3-D” at 3,344. The horse tale had the highest earnings per theater with $10,809 √≥ compared with “Spy Kids 3-D,” which had $9,719 and the other second-place competitors, which climbed no higher than $6,900.
“‘Seabiscuit’ was filling theaters,” Dergarabedian said. “It was not in as many theaters as the others, but it filled more seats in those theaters.”
“Spy Kids 3-D” nearly doubled the debut earnings of last summer’s “Spy Kids 2.” The film attracted a broader teenage audience with its paper blue-and-red tinted glasses, which made some images appear to pop off the screen, said Bob Weinstein, co-founder of Miramax Films, whose Dimension banner released the movie.
“Whatever they paid for those paper glasses was worth it,” Dergarabedian said.
The top 12 movies earned $145.6 million, up about 10 percent from the same weekend last year, when “Austin Powers in Goldmember” was the top movie with $73 million. Weekend revenues this summer generally have trailed those of last year.
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. “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over,” $32.5 million
2. “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” $22.4 million.
3. “Bad Boys II,” $22 million.
4. “Lara Croft: Tomb raider √≥ The Cradle of Life,” $21.8 million.
5. “Seabiscuit,” $21.5 million.
6. “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” $5 million
7. “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” $4.9 million.
8. “Johnny English,” $4.3 million.
9. “Finding Nemo,” $4 million.
10. “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde,” $2.7 million.
‘Spy Kids’ Outpaces ‘Seabiscuit’