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Archive for Monday, August 19, 2002

Diesel-fueled ‘XXX’ cruises to second No. 1 ranking

August 19, 2002

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— Spies and space invaders were bigger draws at theaters this weekend than surfer women.

Vin Diesel's espionage thriller "XXX" remained the No. 1 movie for a second straight weekend, taking in $23 million to push its 10-day total to $84.9 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

"Signs," starring Mel Gibson as a farmer fending off hostile visitors from space, came in at No. 2 again with $19.5 million, raising its 17-day take to $150.7 million.

"Blue Crush," starring Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez and Sanoe Lake as die-hard Hawaiian surfers, debuted in third place with $15.2 million.

The weekend's other major release, Eddie Murphy's sci-fi comedy "The Adventures of Pluto Nash," bombed with just $2.15 million, coming in at No. 10. The movie, which cost about $90 million, was not screened in advance for critics, generally a sign that it's a stinker.

"Unfortunately, every studio at some point has to face disappointing results from one of your films," said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., which released "Pluto Nash." "You only hope they're few and far between."

In narrow release, Gwyneth Paltrow's scholarly romance "Possession" debuted with a respectable $1.6 million. The German-language food flick "Mostly Martha," about feuding restaurant chefs, opened strongly with $42,000 in two New York City theaters and expands to the top 10 markets next weekend.

With big hits waning as summer winds down, "XXX" could repeat again next weekend as the No. 1 movie, said Jeff Blake, head of distribution for Sony. Debuting next weekend are Al Pacino's Hollywood satire "Simone," the Elizabeth Hurley-Matthew Perry comedy "Serving Sara" and the Wesley Snipes-Ving Rhames prison-boxing flick "Undisputed."Overall, Hollywood revenues slipped for the fifth straight week after months of surging business. The top 12 films took in $101.4 million, down 2 percent from the same weekend last year.

Summer revenues still remain about 5 percent ahead of the record set last year. And Hollywood remains on track to break 2001's yearlong box-office record of $8.4 billion, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, which tracks ticket sales.Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.:

1. "XXX," $23 million.

2. "Signs," $19.5 million.

3. "Blue Crush," $15.2 million.

4. "Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams," $11.6 million.

5. "Austin Powers in Goldmember," $8.7 million.

6. "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," $5.8 million.

7. "Blood Work," $4.8 million.

8. "Road to Perdition," $3.8 million.

9. "The Master of Disguise," $3.3 million.

10. "The Adventures of Pluto Nash," $2.15 million.

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