News

'Panic Room' Breaks Into the Top Spot, 'Rookie' Hits a Triple

by Brandon Gray
April 2, 2002

Among the four movies that invaded theaters, moviegoers made a mad dash to the Panic Room during the Easter weekend ending March 31.

The R-rated home invasion thriller grabbed $30.1 million from 3,053 theaters, 60 percent of its audience over the age of 25. The $48 million production marked a career-best opening for star Jodie Foster and director David Fincher. Separately, the two previously found their greatest commercial successes in the thriller genre, The Silence of the Lambs for Foster and Seven for Fincher. Both were also coming off of commercial disappointments, Anna and the King for Foster and Fight Club for Fincher. Foster's prior personal best start was 1997's Contact, which blasted off with $20.6 million from 1,923 theaters on course to $100.9 million.

Panic Room also registered the third biggest opening for a non-supernatural thriller after Hannibal ($58 million) and Ransom ($34.2 million) and the biggest Easter opening ever, edging out The Matrix's $27.8 million. Although, adjusted for ticket price inflation, Matrix would still be tops with around $31 million.

Ice Age held onto second place with $18.1 million, a 40% melt-off from last weekend. In the process, the $65 million computer-animated picture became the first 2002 release to cross the $100 million mark with a 17-day tally of $116.9 million.

Opening the same weekend as baseball season, Disney's G-rated The Rookie scored $16 million from 2,511 venues in its first at-bat, the biggest opening weekend ever for a baseball movie. The studio released Remember the Titans, another inspirational sports movie, as the football season was starting back in September 2000. It kicked off with $20.9 million from 1,865 venues and racked up $115.7 million by the end of its run.

With non-stop promos on its kid network, Nickelodeon's Clockstoppers aimed for the same audience that Spy Kids courted on this same weekend last year. Though it didn't reach the heights of that picture's $26.5 million start, the $26 million sci-fi flick nonetheless posted a respectable $10.1 million from 2,540 theaters.

The 20th anniversary E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial re-release dove 57% to $6.2 million for a 10-day total of $24.3 million and a lifetime tally of $424.1 million. In the spring of 1998, the Grease reissue also fell 57% in its second weekend, going from a $12.7 million opening to $5.5 million on its way to $28.4 million by the end of its run.

Maybe it was those annoying pop-up ads that inundated the Internet, but Death to Smoochy lived up to its title. The $50 million dark comedy bowed in seventh place with just $4.3 million from 2,164 theaters, despite boasting the star power of Robin Williams, Edward Norton and Danny DeVito. The genre almost invariably has a tough time at the box office, but Smoochy's marketing campaign didn't help. Ads forgot to include laughs and even an adequate description of what the movie was about, though there was an inherent problem in that the spoof of Barney was a few years too late to capitalize on the whole "Kill Barney" craze.

Best Picture winner A Beautiful Mind did not receive much of an Oscar boost, actually easing 5% to $3.9 million and moving its 101-day total to $160.8 million. By comparison, American Beauty enjoyed a 34% bump-up after winning Best Picture, while Shakespeare in Love got a 44% boost. However, with respective grosses of $108.5 million and $73.2 million when they won, fewer people had seen them than Mind at the same point.

As a thank you to the fans, New Line tacked a few minutes of footage from The Two Towers at the end of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and trumpeted it in a new set of ads that also spotlighted the four Oscars the picture earned. As a result, business was up 1% to $2.4 million, despite retracting from 1,317 theaters to 1,120 instead of the originally planned expansion to 2,000 theaters. That was enough to push the epic adventure's total past the $300 million milestone, making it the 11th movie in history to reach such a height.

The top 12 pictures grossed $114.2 million, down 3.4% from last weekend but a 38.7% improvement over the same frame last year when Spy Kids took off with $26.5 million from 3,104 theaters en route to $112.7 million. The Ashley Judd romantic comedy Someone Like You wooed $10 million out of 2,345 on track to $27.3 million, while raunchy comedy Tomcats could only rouse $6.4 million from 2,617 on course to $13.6 million. The Tailor of Panama kicked off its solid $13.5 million limited run at 199 venues, bowing in 12th place with $1.8 million.



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