‘American Wedding’ Tops Box Office
LOS ANGELES – If the weekend’s top movie √≥ “American Wedding” √≥ glowed like a happy newlywed, then you could say the critically reviled “Gigli” stumbled like an ugly bridesmaid.
The third film in the raunchy “American Pie” sex comedies, “American Wedding” collected $34.3 million to debut at No. 1, according to studio estimates Sunday. The film did well despite mixed reviews and the loss of some cast members from the previous two films √≥ Shannon Elizabeth, Mena Suvari, Chris Klein and Tara Reid.
“American Wedding” stars Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan as oddball sweethearts Jim and Michelle, whose marriage festivities are ruined by the antics of loudmouth Stifler, played by Seann William Scott.
The movie opened with about $11 million less than 2001’s “American Pie 2” but about $15 million more than the 1999 original.
“That’s a pretty good showing when sequels have been underwhelming this summer,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations Co.
The Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez movie “Gigli” debuted dismally following weeks of toxic buzz and near-unanimous critical revulsion. The comedy about a gangster who falls in love with a lesbian rival during a kidnapping earned $3.8 million.
“This is not a shock,” said Tom Sherak, a partner in Revolution Studios, which produced “Gigli” for Sony Pictures Entertainment.
He said constant gossip and tabloid and TV coverage of Affleck and Lopez’s real-life romance may have created a backlash against the picture. “I’ve seen a lot worse movies,” Sherak said.
“Hey, is it the best movie ever made? Ehh, I don’t think so. … Other movies have gotten ravaged by critics and have opened up at least OK. It was more than that,” he said.
Although Affleck and Lopez already have completed another movie together √≥ writer-director Kevin Smith’s “Jersey Girl” √≥ the foul reception of “Gigli” may end the couple’s working relationship.
“They’ll continue to be big stars, and chances are they will not work together again √≥ and they shouldn’t, by the way,” Sherak said. “You move on. Look, the picture cost $54 million. So everyone is going to get hurt a bit.”
Ticket sales for the year’s highest-grossing movie, “Finding Nemo,” fell by only 13 percent in its 10th week. It earned $3.8 million, for a total of $320 million, and tied for seventh place with “Gigli.”
Meanwhile, the horseracing drama “Seabiscuit” expanded its run by 434 theaters, coming in fourth with $17.5 million, for a total of $49 million. It lost only 16 percent of its audience in its second weekend. Most movies lose about 40 percent.
The top 12 movies earned $133 million, down 6 percent from the same weekend last year, when “Signs” was the top movie with $60.1 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. “American Wedding,” $34.3
2. “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over,” $20.1 million
3. “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” $19.1 million.
4. “Seabiscuit,” $17.5 million.
5. “Bad Boys II,” $12.7 million.
6. “Lara Croft: Tomb raider √≥ The Cradle of Life,” $11.3 million.
7. (tie) “Finding Nemo,” $3.8 million.
7. (tie) “Gigli,” $3.8 million.
9. “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” $3.2 million.
10. “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” $2.9 million.
‘American Wedding’ Tops Box Office