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Archive for Monday, February 5, 2001

Wedding Planner’ takes the cake

February 5, 2001

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— Traditional Valentine's romance won out over the slasher variety at the box office.

Jennifer Lopez's "The Wedding Planner" remained the No. 1 movie for the second straight weekend, taking in $11 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. Lopez also is riding high on music charts with her album "J.Lo," which debuted at No. 1 last week.

The horror flick "Valentine," about a serial killer preying on beautiful women, overcame bad reviews to open in second place with a respectable $10.1 million. The movie stars David Boreanaz and Denise Richards.

The weekend's other new movie, "Head Over Heels," fared poorly with just $5 million, finishing at No. 7. Freddie Prinze Jr. and Monica Potter star in the comedy about a woman who suspects her new beau may be a murderer.

While no one film dominated the market, the overall box office still managed to increase. The top 12 films grossed $73.8 million, up 2.3 percent from the same weekend a year ago, when "Scream 3" opened with a whopping $34.7 million.

"This is just a testament to the strength of the holdovers that are in the marketplace right now," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, which tracks the box office.

"Chocolat" climbed into the top 10 for the first time with $3.7 million, grossing more than it did last weekend even though its theater count dropped by 30 to 1,173 cinemas.

"Cast Away" continued doing well at No. 3 with $7.41 million, becoming the third movie released in 2000 to pass $200 million. The others were "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Mission: Impossible 2."

The box office has been up every weekend this year, a trend certain to continue next weekend with the premiere of the heavily anticipated "Hannibal," sequel to "The Silence of the Lambs."

While "Valentine" and "Head Over Heels" did not have huge debuts, their relatively small budgets made them low risks. "Valentine" cost $10 million and "Head Over Heels" cost $14 million.

Both films were manhandled by reviewers, but "Valentine" distributor Warner Bros. "didn't consider this a review-based movie. There's certainly an audience that enjoys these kinds of movies," said Dan Fellman, head of distribution.

Cloud Ten Pictures released its evangelical Christian thriller "Left Behind" to theaters this weekend after it debuted on home video last fall. The movie, which stars Kirk Cameron and Brad Johnson, grossed $2.55 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.:

1. "The Wedding Planner," $11 million.

2. "Valentine," $10.1 million.

3. "Cast Away," $7.41 million.

4. "Save the Last Dance," 7.4 million.

5. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," $7.35 million.

6. "Traffic," $6.3 million.

7. "Head Over Heels," $5 million.

8. "Finding Forrester," $4.4 million.

9. "Snatch," $4.1 million.

10. "Chocolat," $3.7 million.

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