Starring Ben Affleck as Ryan, The Sum of All Fears tallied $31,178,526 from 3,183 sites over the weekend, topping Harrison Ford's Clear and Present Danger's $20,348,017 as the biggest opening of the Jack Ryan franchise even when ticket price inflation is taken into account.
The $68 million Tom Clancy adaptation marks the second No. 1 debut in less than two months for Affleck in a Paramount thriller after Changing Lanes. However, the star has yet to carry a picture on his own as Sum was buoyed by the presence of Morgan Freeman, while Lanes had Samuel L. Jackson.
Sum was met with a mostly positive reaction from moviegoers. According to studio exit polling, 83% rated the picture either "excellent" or "very good" and 71% said they would recommend it. Demographically, the audience skewed older with 66% over the age of 25.
On Friday, Sum racked up $10,051,137, seemingly unphased by the NBA play-offs unlike other pictures. Business increased 32.4% to $13,307,413 on Saturday, and then subsided by 41.2% to $7,819,967 on Sunday.
As The Sum of All Fears was exploding, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones was imploding. George Lucas' $115 million digital epic pulled in $21,002,876 in its third weekend, down an alarming 56%. After 18 days, it has amassed $232,324,769. By comparison, The Phantom Menace fell 36% to $32,891,653 in its third weekend for a 19-day tally of $255,758,124 en route to its $431,088,297 final. Then again, all Menace had to contend with was the modest Anthony Hopkins drama Instinct.
Clones has faced a far more crowded marketplace than Menace did three years ago, giving it less "room to breathe," 20th Century Fox head of distribution Bruce Snyder noted. Indeed, Menace didn't have any serious competition until its fourth weekend when Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me opened.
With Spider-Man at an insurmountable $353,823,544, Clones will go down as the first Star Wars not to become the top grossing picture of the year it was released. At this rate, crossing the triple-century mark could be a struggle. However, for the fifth movie in a 25-year-old franchise to post $232,324,769 in less than three weeks—already ranking No. 28 on the all time chart—is quite a feat.
Lucas told Reuters a few weeks ago that Clones had to hit $300 million domestically to be "home free" in regards to profitability. "I feel confident we can do it, (but) it's not a slam dunk," Lucas prophetically said. "If it does $285 (million), that's okay. If it does $205 (million), it's a disappointment and we have to rethink the things we are doing about the next one."
Bottom line, the picture is a hit in the eyes of its creative force and its studio.
Beckoning moviegoers to "go for a second spin" in its latest TV spots, Spider-Man continued to net super-powered numbers in its fifth frame, dipping 50% to snare $14,317,411. The Marvel Comics adaptation has scaled to $353,823,544 and should surpass Jurassic Park's $357,067,947 by Wednesday to reach No. 5 on the all time chart.
Though "The Man" may have tried to bring Undercover Brother down, the funky $25 million comedy nabbed fourth place with $12,037,685 at 2,167 theaters. Described as a cross between Austin Powers and Shaft, the soulful secret agent actually had a comparable opening to the British superspy send-up's first outing, which scored $9,548,111 at 2,187 venues or about $12 million adjusted for ticket price inflation. Powers shagged its way to $53,883,989 and built its audience up on home video and other ancillary markets to the point that its sequel bowed to $54,917,604. Universal hopes Brother will have similar legs, and already has a sequel brewing that's just waiting for the greenlight.
Audiences seemed to dig Brother as nearly 90% rated it either "excellent" or "very good" in exit polls, while 70% would definitely recommend it to a friend. The genders were pretty evenly split with 52% of moviegoers being male and 48% female, and the PG-13-rated picture appealed almost equally to those over the age of 25 (45%) as it did to those under (55%). Interestingly, the most prominent age groups were 17-20 and 35-49, each making up 18% of the audience. Ethnically, the majority of the audience was black (62%) with white folk a distant second (23%), according to Universal's sampling.
Breaking the weekend down, Brother's worst enemies on Friday may have been the L.A. Lakers and Sacramento Kings, as it earned a slightly muted $3,651,395. On Saturday, it jumped 42.4% to $5,200,800, and then slid 38.8% on Sunday to $3,185,490.
Among holdovers, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron experience the smallest decline among wide releases, slowing 36% to $11,303,814 in fifth place. DreamWorks' $80 million traditionally-animated feature has galloped to $38,750,089 after 10 days.
Losing more than sleep to adult competitor The Sum of All Fears, Insomnia fell 52% to $9,950,000. The $46 million thriller starring Al Pacino and Robin Williams has tracked down $41,610,000 in 10 days.
Jennifer Lopez may kick butt in Enough, but the movie isn't at the box office. The $38 million "you go girl" action flick tumbled 51% to $6,808,026 for a 10-day total of $27,148,463. Still, it's already topped the $24,174,218 total gross of J.Lo's last picture Angel Eyes.
So far, 2002 is about 20% ahead of 2001 at the same point, however this weekend overall business trailed 2001 for the first time in four months. The top 12 pictures grossed $116.8 million, down 23% from last weekend and down 4% from the same frame last year when Pearl Harbor clung to the top spot.
Also starring Affleck, the World War II epic dove 50% in its sophomore session to $29,558,276 en route to $198,542,554. Not far behind was Shrek, which dipped 34% to $28,175,869 in its third weekend on its way to $267,665,011. Rob Schneider's The Animal bowed in third with $19,610,520 from 2,788 theaters, rounding up $57,743,062 by the end of its run. Moulin Rouge expanded into wide release and dazzled with $13,718,306 at 2,279 venues, can-canning its way to $57,386,607. While What's the Worst That Could Happen? lived up to its title for Martin Lawrence, lifting $13,049,114 from 2,675 on course to $32,269,834.