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Archive for Monday, October 1, 2001

Don’t Say a Word’ makes strong statement

October 1, 2001

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— A trio of strong new releases helped lure audiences back to theaters after the worst weekend of the year.

"Don't Say a Word," "Zoolander" and "Hearts in Atlantis" took in a combined estimated total of more than $43 million, driving a strong fall weekend for the industry.

"I hope this portends well for the country, never mind just the movie business," said Bruce Snyder, president of domestic distribution for 20th Century Fox, which released "Don't Say a Word," a psychological thriller starring Michael Douglas that led the pack with an $18 million take.

"Zoolander," starring Ben Stiller as a feeble-minded fashion model, grabbed the No. 2 spot with $15.7 million. "Hearts in Atlantis," a coming-of-age tale starring Anthony Hopkins, opened third with $9.5 million.

Receipts were up 26 percent over the same weekend last year and 52 percent over last weekend.

Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, said a wider choice of new films proved a strong draw.

"From looking at these numbers, moviegoers were ready to go back to the theaters; they just needed something to compel them," Dergarabedian said.

Dergarabedian said audiences should continue to grow in coming weeks with more releases, including some violent fare. "People find their release in all kinds of movies," he said. "We don't have to spoon-feed them lighthearted movies for the next 10 years."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday:

1. "Don't Say a Word," $18 million.

2. "Zoolander," $15.7 million.

3. "Hearts in Atlantis," $9.5 million.

4. "Hardball," $5.2 million.

5. "The Others," $5.1 million.

6. "Rush Hour 2," $2.7 million.

7. "The Glass House," $2.1 million.

8. "Rat Race," $1.8 million.

9. "The Musketeer," $1.7 million.

10. "Two Can Play that Game," $1.6 million.

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