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Hollywood Thankful for Fantasy Films

Genre titles take seven of the Top Ten slots.

By Steve Biodrowski     November 27, 2000

Hollywood should be thankful for genre entertainment, as that's what drew in the ticket buyers during the long Thanksgiving weekend. Fantasy and science fiction films ruled the box office, taking seven out of the Top Ten positions, and all of the Top Five. In 1st place for its second weekend was Universal's How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which earned $73.8-million during the five-day period, up 34% from its debut. (For a more accurate comparison, the film earned $52.4-million during the three-day, Friday-to-Sunday frame, for a drop of 5%--which is still very impressive.) The film has already passed the $100-million mark.

Making its debut in 2nd place was Touchstone's Unbreakable, which earned $47.2-million in just over 2,700 engagements, for a per screen average of over $17,400. This was the second best Thanksgiving opening ever, behind last year's $80-million for Toy Story 2. The strong opening was predicted by a Fandom poll that ran on Wednesday, asking browsers whether they would rather see Unbreakable or 102 Dalmatians. Out of 112 responses, 71% expressed a preference for Unbreakable. 2% wanted to see both, and 6% expressed an preference for Dalmatians, with the remainder not interested in either film. A follow-up poll on Saturday-Sunday drew low numbers, but those who saw the film enjoyed it. Out of 44 responses, 36% gave it an A, and 31% gave it a B; only 18% graded the film with an F, while the rest were divided between a C and a D. Using a numerical scale (4 for A, 3 for B, etc), that gave the film a total score of only 116 but an average score of 2.6. This film also stands a good chance at earning big next week, when no new films are schedule for wide release.

Also making its debut this weekend was Disney's 102 Dalmatians, which took 3rd place with $26.8-million in over 2,700 engagements, for a per screen average of over $9,900. The numbers seem impressive, except that they are 40% 101 Dalmatians, which made its debut four years ago with $45-million. With strong competition for the family audience from The Grinch and Rugrats, it remains to be seen how Dalmatians will fare in its sophomore weekend.

Dropping from 2nd to 4th place during its second weekend was Rugrats in Paris, which earned $22.8-million over the five-day frame, putting it just about even with its debut take. Comparing for the three-day, Friday-to-Saturday period, the film earned $17.6-million, which was still only a 23% drop.

Rounding out the Top Five was Charlie's Angels, which fell from 3rd to 5th place but saw its box office climb 4% thanks to Thanksgiving. The film earned $14-million, pushing its total gross to $109-million.

Two other genre films found spots in the Top Ten: The Sixth Day and Little Nicky. The Arnold Schwarzenegger science fiction opus fell from 4th to 7th place in its sophomore outing, earning $10.2-million, down 22% from its debut. The Adam Sandler comedy fell from 7th to 10th place, along with a 16% decline in revenue, earning just $6.5-million over the five-day weekend.

You can find a complete list of studio estimates for the weekend's Box Office Top Ten at Cinescape Online. Come back tomorrow to see how the final figures tally up with studio predictions.


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