'Clones' Retreats from 760 Theaters

by Brandon Gray
June 14, 2002

On Friday, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones lost 760 theaters for a total of 2,401 in its fifth weekend, a precipitous 24% drop from the 3,161 venues it had been playing at since its May 16 release.

The hemorrhage was in part due to exhibitors making room for the three new releases—Scooby-Doo, which gobbled up a whopping 3,447 theaters, Windtalkers which blew into 2,898, and The Bourne Identity which struck 2,636. Indeed, every wide release that had been playing more than a week gave up theaters, including Spider-Man—down 533 to 2,702—and last week's widest movie Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, dropping 489 for a total of 2,873.

The primary reason, though, for the exodus from Clones may have to do with the deal distributor 20th Century Fox made with exhibitors. In order to show George Lucas' digital epic, exhibitors had to agree to keep the picture on their screens a minimum of four weeks, twice the standard two-week booking. Now that the four weeks have passed, they were free to show other movies, a prospect made more attractive by the fact that the movie hasn't been performing on par with its predecessor.

By comparison, The Phantom Menace played at 3,019 theaters in its fifth weekend, losing just 5 despite facing off with openers Tarzan (3,005 theaters) and The General's Daughter (2,856). While Spider-Man still had 3,646 theaters in its web by its fifth frame, more than the 3,615 it started with.

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