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'Hitch' Hooks Top Spot Again

by Brandon Gray
February 22, 2005

Fending off the demons of Keanu Reeves' Constantine, the Will Smith romantic comedy eased 27 percent to $31.4 million to top the weekend—a gross better than any other picture's first weekend so far this year. Counting President's Day, Hitch has attracted $95.0 million in eleven days.

Hitch attained the top spot again thanks to broad-based appeal and momentum from its $43.1 million debut last weekend. After enjoying a Valentine's Day kick in its opening salvo, the picture was well timed for another holiday outing, President's Day. With next week's openings of Wes Craven's werewolf thriller Cursed and Tommy Lee Jones comedy Man of the House, it could spend a third consecutive weekend at No. 1.

The Best Picture nominees continued to show their Oscar legs. Their collective gross has jumped 58 percent since nominations were announced on Jan. 25—that's already the biggest Academy Awards improvement since 1998, including lifetime grosses. The boost was fueled by two movies going in to wide release following the nominations, Million Dollar Baby and Sideways, and, as a whole, the least popular bunch of nominees since 1987—it's easier to capitalize on Oscar when a picture hasn't been widely seen.

Million Dollar Baby had the strongest hold of all wide releases over the three day weekend, down nine percent to $6.8 million and lifting its total to $55.6 million through Monday—fourth best among nominees. The Aviator slowed 11 percent to $4.2 million, despite losing 22 percent of its theaters. Its tally after 67 days is $88.9 million. Sideways gave up 20 percent of its venues but fell 14 percent to $3.8 million. With $58.7 million in the till, it's on track to beat About Schmidt's $65.0 million as writer and director Alexander Payne's highest grossing picture.

RELATED LINKS
2/21 - 'Constantine' Smokes
2/14 - 'Hitch' Scores Romantic Comedy Record
REVIEW: 'Hitch' - Slick Comedy Hooks Laughs, Not Much Else
Weekend Box Office Chart
Best Picture Nominees at the Box Office

NOTE: This story was updated on Tuesday, Feb. 22 with actual grosses.



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