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Archive for Monday, November 11, 2002

Eminem’s ‘8 Mile’ wraps up No. 1 spot at box office

November 11, 2002

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— The Eminem show has conquered movie theaters.

"8 Mile," the rapper's semi-autobiographical movie debut, took in $54.5 million in its first weekend - the sort of success that eludes most pop stars when they try to cross over to film.

It was the second-best opening ever for an R-rated film behind "Hannibal," which debuted last year with $58 million.

The big debut and strong results for holdover films lifted the overall box office. The top 12 movies grossed $133.8 million, up 15 percent over the same weekend last year.

In "8 Mile," Eminem plays a young white singer struggling in the black-dominated hip-hop scene of Detroit's bleak Eight Mile area, where Eminem grew up.

"8 Mile" bumped last weekend's No. 1 movie, "The Santa Clause 2," into second place with $24.8 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The triumph of "8 Mile" follows the No. 1 debut of the film's soundtrack this month and the chart-topping success of the singer's latest album, "The Eminem Show."

The movie's huge opening indicates Eminem has gained more mainstream acceptance after critics branded him a homophobe and misogynist for violent, obscenity-laced lyrics on his previous best-selling records.

Universal, which distributed the movie, said women made up 53 percent of the audience. And while 69 percent of the audience was younger than 25, a fair number of older adults showed up, the studio said.

The weekend's only other new wide release, Brian De Palma's crime thriller "Femme Fatale," opened weakly at No. 9 with $2.8 million, averaging $2,655 in 1,066 theaters.

Singers such as Ice Cube and LL Cool J have done well on film but often in ensemble or supporting roles. Madonna has had a fitful film career, including the major flops "Shanghai Surprise" and this fall's "Swept Away." Britney Spears' "Crossroads" was a minor success last spring.

Mariah Carey had perhaps the most notable bomb among pop-star flicks with last year's "Glitter."

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

1. "8 Mile," $54.5 million.

2. "The Santa Clause 2," $24.8 million.

3. "The Ring," $16 million.

4. "I Spy," $9 million.

5. "Jackass: The Movie," $7.2 million.

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

7. "Sweet Home Alabama," $3.8 million.

8. "Ghost Ship," $3.2 million.

9. "Femme Fatale," $2.8 million.

10. "Punch-Drunk Love," $2.6 million.

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