News

'Minority Report' Tops 'Lilo & Stitch' in Photo Finish

by Brandon Gray
June 24, 2002

Tom Cruise learned that the system isn't perfect not just as part of the plotline for Minority Report but in the real world as well. The Pre-Cogs had predicted that the Steven Spielberg-helmed sci-fi thriller would make a box office killing, handily topping the chart this weekend.

But when estimates were issued Sunday, a certain mischievous alien mutant named Stitch had shown the Pre-Cogs were wrong—at least in terms of by how much Minority would win—prompting 20th Century Fox's head of distribution Bruce Snyder to label the weekend "too close to call" until actual numbers came in on Monday.

The actual numbers have since been tabulated, and though Lilo & Stitch was ahead on Friday, Minority Report did eke out a victory for the weekend, but only by a mere $416,913.

Though everybody didn't run to Minority Report, the critically-raved picture pulled in $35,677,125 at 3,001 theaters—about $1.2 million less than what Fox estimated. That would exceed the openings of Spielberg and Cruise's last pictures—A.I. Artificial Intelligence ($29,352,630) and Vanilla Sky ($25,015,518) respectively. In fact, Minority marks Cruise's biggest opening for a picture not based on well known source material like the Mission: Impossible and Interview with the Vampire movies were, and it's his ninth consecutive No. 1 bow in a leading role in 10 years.

The Minority Report marketing campaign emphasized Cruise's running man aspect of his persona, as his biggest hits often include obligatory shots of him mid-sprint, even for movies one wouldn't expect it such as Jerry Maguire. The production budget came in at $102 million, however as much as $25 million of it was offset by product placements from 15 different companies including Lexus, Nokia and USA Today. To further keep costs down, Spielberg and Cruise waived their usual fees, each opting instead to take a 15% cut of all revenue.

Breaking the weekend down, Minority grabbed $11,663,742 on Friday, jumped 14% to $13,295,050 on Saturday and then dipped 19% to $10,718,333 for Sunday. Demographically, the audience skewed only slightly male at 52% but played mostly to those over the age of 25 (64%), according to Snyder. Snyder also noted that moviegoer response in the studio's exit polling was excellent.

Lilo & Stitch gobbled up $12,335,579 on Friday at 3,191 venues to top the chart then, but lagged behind Minority on Saturday and Sunday with $12,806,637 and $10,117,996 respectively. That brought its weekend tally to $35,260,212, or about $500,000 less than what Disney estimated. Still, it ranks as the second biggest opening ever for a hand-drawn picture behind The Lion King's $40,888,194.

Illustrating just how close these two pictures were, Sunday estimates from other studios had the movies flip-flopped. One even had Lilo & Stitch at $34.8 million and Minority Report at $34.2 million.

Tackling the concept of family a.k.a. "ohana" amidst its kid-pleasing antics, the $80 million Lilo marks a return to form for Disney after an overall decline—typified by last summer's Atlantis: The Lost Empire—as computer animation rose to dominance in recent years. Disney built a bridge to its early '90s heyday by having rabble-rousing Stitch interrupt classic scenes from The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast among others.

Zoinks! Scooby-Doo took a sizable hit in its sophomore session—and it wasn't from a bong. The $84 million adaptation of the classic cartoon dove 55% to $24,476,416, but it has munched on $100,311,218 in just 10 days. It looks like Scooby and the gang will peter out at around $160 million, more than enough to justify the sequel that will bow-wow in 2004.

The Bourne Identity held up the best among second-weekend holdovers, retreating a reasonable 44% to $15,078,315 for $54,384,585 in 10 days. The $60 million Euro-spy thriller starring Matt Damon has an outside shot at hitting $100 million by the end of its run.

Damon's buddy Ben Affleck continued to enjoy strong business for his CIA thriller The Sum of All Fears, which subsided 42% to $7,764,295. After 24 days, the picture's total climbed to $97,293,319, and it should cross the century mark by Thursday.

The code is safe as not enough people have seen Windtalkers to expose it. The World War II epic starring Nicolas Cage tumbled 55% to $6,551,131, propelling its total to $26,600,014 in 10 days. The $115 million production is on track to end its run shy of $40 million.

Warner Bros.' cross-dressing basketball comedy Juwanna Mann bowed at No. 8, scoring $5,474,270 for the weekend at 1,325 courts.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood were told 32% fewer times this weekend as business for the $27 million chick flick fell to $6,028,457 for $46,711,890 after 17 days. It actually held up better than the third weekend of 1998's Hope Floats, also starring Sandra Bullock, which sank 38% to $5,293,582 en route to $60,110,313.

After leveling off the past two weekends, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones dropped 45% to $5,151,029 at 2,107 theaters (down 294) and ninth place. In 39 days, George Lucas' $115 million digital epic has reached $279,828,712, enough to rank as the 16th highest grossing movie of all time and at No. 81 on the adjusted-for-inflation all time chart. It still should manage to hit the $300 million mark. Have faith in Fox and Lucas. They'll figure out a way.

Spider-Man scaled back 424 venues for a total of 2,278 and saw business descend 39% to $4,555,932. After 52 days, the Marvel Comics adaptation has nabbed $390,382,313 and has its web shooters set on breaking another record—fastest to $400 million—a feat Titanic accomplished in 66 days.

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE CHART

The top 12 pictures grossed $150.3 million, down 3.6% from last weekend but an 11.1% improvement over the same frame last year when The Fast and the Furious stunned many pundits by accelerating to $40,089,015 at 2,628 venues en route $144,533,925. Dr. Dolittle 2 fell short of its predecessor, but nonetheless posted a $25,037,039 second place bow at 3,049 theaters on course to $112,952,899. At No. 3, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider tumbled 59% to $19,786,356 in its sophomore session, excavating $131,168,070 by the end of its run.



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