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'Bad' Business for Bruckheimer's Latest as 'Sum' Stays on Top

by Brandon Gray
June 10, 2002

Ever notice in sports when announcers John Madden or Marv Albert praise the star player, then that star player either fumbles the ball or gets denied mid-dunk on the very next play? Well, that sort of thing happens at the box office as well.

Coming off a 20 year winning streak and getting props for it from the box office pundits, uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer has landed what could be his first major bomb with his latest picture Bad Company.

Though it beat Disney's estimate by $548,000, the odd couple pairing of Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock could only muster $11,007,367 from 2,944 theaters over the weekend, bowing in fourth place. That's less than half of the $25 million openings that Bruckheimer's early June action pictures The Rock, Con Air and Gone in 60 Seconds averaged in the past.

Breaking the weekend down, the action-comedy scored $3,890,040 on Friday, was flat at $3,894,422 on Saturday, and then dipped 17.2% to $3,222,905 on Sunday. The audience skewed slightly male at 58%, and most patrons were under the age of 35.

"This is going to be a disaster," Hopkins prophetically uttered in the ads for the picture.

And so the curse of the movies postponed in the wake of Sept. 11 continues, following the failures of Collateral Damage and Big Trouble. Bad Company was originally scheduled as a holiday release, but was pushed back due to its plotline involving a nuclear bomb. However, Bruckheimer explained while promoting Black Hawk Down that he always felt that Bad Company was more of a summer movie anyway. So far, only the movies that were moved forward on the schedule to take advantage of the country's increased patriotism—Black Hawk Down and Behind Enemy Lines—have succeeded. The question remains whether John Woo's Windtalkers—pushed back from last November—can buck the trend next weekend when it strikes over 2,700 theaters.

The onslaught of major sporting events, including the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson boxing bout, the NBA finals, the Belmont Stakes, World Cup Soccer and the NHL Stanley Cup finals to name a few, may have had an impact on Bad Company's business as other male-skewing pictures took a stronger hit than their Friday grosses indicated.

The Sum of All Fears remained entrenched in the top spot with $19,230,111, $500,000 better than Paramount's estimate. Down 38%, it actually had a better second weekend hold than the 39% decline of Harrison Ford's first go at Jack Ryan in 1992's Patriot Games, despite the more front-loaded nature of the biz since then. After 10 days, Sum's sum stands at $62,314,003 and it looks like a lock to pass the $100 million mark by the end of its run.

The sole pure chick flick in marketplace Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood debuted in second place with $16,167,412 from 2,507 venues. Predictably, 80% of its audience was female, while the ages were split evenly between those over and under the age of 25, according to Warner Bros.' exit polling. Reportedly produced for $27 million, the ensemble drama featuring Ashley Judd and Sandra Bullock based on the best selling novel of the same name eclipsed its male-skewing fellow opener Bad Company by 47%.

Leveling off after sharp declines the past two weeks, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones pulled in $14,011,713, a 33% dip from last weekend. After 25 days, it has racked up $255,106,352 to land at No. 19 on the all time chart, surpassing Monsters, Inc., and it should crack the $300 million mark by the end of its run. By comparison, The Phantom Menace grossed $25,632,861 in its fourth weekend for a 26-day total of $296,964,911.

Spider-Man descended 28% to $10,311,062 in its sixth weekend, lifting its gross to a staggering $370,428,183 after 38 days. The record-breaking Marvel Comics adaptation still has a few tricks left up its webshooters. Most notably, it has an excellent shot at becoming the fastest movie to hit $400 million, beating the 66 days that Titanic took to reach that milestone. However, Spidey is not likely to scale any higher than No. 5 on the all time chart as its trajectory points to a final gross of around $415 million, shy of No. 4 The Phantom Menace's $431,088,297.

For the second weekend in a row, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron had the smallest decline of all wide holdovers. DreamWorks' $80 million traditionally animated feature eased a scant 18% to $9,303,808 for $53,648,859 after 17 days. The studio's Shrek didn't hold up as well on the same frame last year, falling 41% despite becoming the widest release ever at that point. Spirit is following the same super-saturation trend, though, as it has the highest theater count in the marketplace—3,362.

Undercover Brother was not brought down in its sophomore session, though it may have been hurt the most of all holdovers by the Lewis-Tyson match as evidenced by its modest 15.1% Saturday bump-up from Friday compared to the 42.4% boost it enjoyed last Saturday. For the weekend, the $25 million comedy slipped 39% to $7,301,145, raising its 10-day tally to $23,619,365. The first Austin Powers fell 26% in its second weekend to $7,064,984 for a 10-day total of $19,496,896 on course to $53,883,989.

The top 12 pictures grossed $103.3 million, down 11.5% from last weekend but a 9.5% improvement over the same frame last year when uber-producer Joel Silver tried to pull a Jerry Bruckheimer with Swordfish, but came up with mixed results. The John Travolta action flick bowed in first place with a relatively modest $18,145,632 at 2,678 sites—also somewhat muted by the NBA playoffs—en route to $69,772,969 and a lucrative run on home video. Shrek held onto second place with $16,520,052, while Pearl Harbor dipped 50% to $14,721,419 in third. Sci-fi comedy Evolution wasn't fit enough to survive the summer, debuting at No. 4 with $13,408,351 at 2,611 venues and going extinct at $38,345,494.



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