Los Angeles Moviegoers liked Jennifer Lopez as "The Wedding Planner," making the romantic comedy No. 1 at the box office, as studios challenged Sunday's Super Bowl, drawing more filmgoers this year than last.
Despite the allure of football's main event, studios reported a strong showing over the weekend, grossing an estimated $76 million, an increase of 73 percent over last year's Super Bowl weekend take, an industry analyst said.
"Last year was a lot weaker than this year. The lineup of women's films in the marketplace serving as counter-programming to the Super Bowl was really effective," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.
Moviegoers also may have crowded theaters earlier, leaving Sunday free for football, said Linda Ditrinco, senior vice president of USA Films national sales.
"We kind of analyzed it internally, we noticed Friday and Saturday make up for the Sunday drops. People are still going to the movies," Ditrinco said.
"The Wedding Planner," starring Lopez always a planner, never a bride who falls for a groom-to-be, took in $14 million its debut weekend.
The film bounced "Save the Last Dance" to No. 2 from the top spot, which the hip-hop feature had held since its debut two weeks ago.
Bank-robbing cheerleaders film "Sugar & Spice" debuted in the fifth spot. It opened with an estimated $6.02 million or $2,802 per screen.
"Cast Away," starring Tom Hanks as a modern Robinson Crusoe, slipped to third from second place, but stayed strong as it raked in $8.93 million for the weekend. So far, "Cast Away" has made $194 million.
USA Films' drug-war drama "Traffic" pulled in $6.48 million, slipping one spot to No. 4. The film has gained $56.3 million since wide release earlier this month.
Martial arts film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" continued to climb, moving to No. 6 from eighth. The film took in $5.07 million or $5,846 per screen.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.:
1. "The Wedding Planner," $14 million
2. "Save the Last Dance," $10 million
3. "Cast Away," $8.93 million
4. "Traffic," $6.48 million
5. "Sugar & Spice," $6.02 million
6. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," $5.07 million
7 (tie). "Snatch," $4.8 million
7 (tie). "Finding Forrester," $4.8 million
9. "What Women Want," $4.3 million
10. "Miss Congeniality," $3.96 million