'Crouching Tiger' Edges Box Record


Tuesday, February 6th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


LOS ANGELES (AP) — The martial arts epic ``Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'' is poised to become the all-time box office champ domestically among foreign language films.

The Mandarin language historical romance expanded to more theaters over the weekend and pushed its total gross to $53 million. By this weekend, it is expected to pass the $57.6 million taken in by ``Life Is Beautiful,'' the current record-holder among foreign language flicks.

Jennifer Lopez's ``The Wedding Planner'' was the No. 1 movie for the second straight weekend with $10.6 million, followed by the new horror movie ``Valentine,'' ``Cast Away,'' ``Save the Last Dance'' and ``Crouching Tiger.''

``It's really unprecedented for a film like 'Crouching Tiger' to do this kind of business,'' said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, which tracks the box office.

``It's an arthouse movie with subtitles, but it has a lot of really intense action, a really unique visual style. It's an action picture but with a love story and strong female characters, so there's crossover appeal to women.''

The movie is likely to grab Oscar nominations next week for best picture and for director Ang Lee, which will further boost its commercial appeal.

Sony Pictures Classics plans to expand the movie to about 1,600 theaters, up about 400, the weekend after Oscar nods come out.

``We feel that we will get some multiple nominations, that there's a good chance of that, so that's the point to take the movie wider,'' said Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics.

The top 20 movies at North American theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

1. ``The Wedding Planner,'' Sony, $10.6 million, 2,785 locations, $3,808 average, $27.8 million, two weeks.

2. ``Valentine,'' Warner Bros., $10 million, 2,310 locations, $4,340 average, $10 million, one week.

3. ``Cast Away,'' Fox, $7.5 million, 2,648 locations, $2,821 average, $203 million, seven weeks.

4. ``Save the Last Dance,'' Paramount, $7.2 million, 2,570 locations, $2,791 average, $68.5 million, four weeks.

5. ``Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,'' Sony Pictures Classics, $6.8 million, 1,163 locations, $5,861 average, $53 million, nine weeks.

6. ``Traffic,'' USA, $6.3 million, 1,580 locations, $3,989 average, $64.8 million, six weeks.

7. ``Head Over Heels,'' Universal, $4.8 million, 2,338 locations, $2,055 average, $4.8 million, one week.

8. ``Finding Forrester,'' Sony, $4.2 million, 1,983 locations, $2,125 average, $41.3 million, seven weeks.

9. ``Snatch,'' Sony, $4 million, 1,240 locations, $3,231 average, $21.7 million, three weeks.

10. ``Chocolat,'' Miramax, $3.65 million, 1,173 locations, $3,111 average, $22.4 million, eight weeks.

11. ``O Brother, Where Art Thou?'', Disney, $3.647 million, 809 locations, $4,508 average, $17 million, seven weeks.

12. ``Sugar & Spice,'' New Line, $3.6 million, 2,150 locations, $1,684 average, $10.6 million, two weeks.

13. ``What Women Want,'' Paramount, $3.3 million, 1,932 locations, $1,684 average, $172.8 million, eight weeks.

14. ``Miss Congeniality,'' Warner Bros., $3.25 million, 2,036 locations, $1,598 average, $97.7 million, seven weeks.

15. ``The Pledge,'' Warner Bros., $3.1 million, 1,385 locations, $2,207 average, $15.5 million, three weeks.

16. ``Thirteen Days,'' New Line, $2.8 million, 1,461 locations, $1,926 average, $28.4 million, seven weeks.

17. ``Left Behind,'' Cloud Ten, $2.2 million, 867 locations, $2,490 average, $2.2 million, one week.

18. ``Double Take,'' Disney, $2.1 million, 1,044 locations, $2,003 average, $26.1 million, four weeks.

19. ``The Emperor's New Groove,'' Disney, $2 million, 1,381 locations, $1,438 average, $81.9 million, eight weeks.

20. ``The Gift,'' Paramount Classics, $1.7 million, 777 locations, $2,137 average, $9 million, seven weeks.