'Charlie's Angels' Tops Box Office

Monday, November 6th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) — ``Charlie's Angels'' got a heavenly reception at theaters as the cheeky update of the TV series soared to the top of the box office with $40.5 million in ticket sales.

The movie starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu as the glamorous detectives had the second-best debut ever outside of May, June and July, the summer blockbuster season. Last year's ``Toy Story 2'' took in $57.4 million from Friday to Sunday over Thanksgiving and $80.1 million for the five-day holiday weekend.

This weekend's other new movie, Robert Redford's golf parable ``The Legend of Bagger Vance,'' opened in third place with $12 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. It stars Matt Damon and Will Smith.

The overall box office was up for the fourth straight weekend after a long slump that started in midsummer. The top 12 movies took in $97.3 million, up 55 percent from the same weekend in 1999.

Hollywood's revenues are running slightly ahead of last year's, when the industry took in a record $7.5 billion.

More big offerings arrive in the next few weeks, including ``Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas,'' Adam Sandler's ``Little Nicky'' and ''102 Dalmatians.'' The industry could break last year's Thanksgiving box-office record of $225.5 million and finish the year with revenues at an all-time high, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, which tracks ticket sales.

``Going into Thanksgiving, I've never seen this depth of potential blockbusters ever,'' Dergarabedian said. ``The holiday is usually dominated by one film.''

Playing in 3,037 theaters, ``Charlie's Angels'' averaged a healthy $13,336 a cinema. ``Bagger Vance'' averaged $5,822 in 2,061 theaters.

``Charlie's Angels'' drew criticism from reviewers for its thin plot but praise for its campy humor and glossy action.

Women made up 55 percent of the audience. The movie drew well across all ages, including older viewers who remember the TV show and younger movie-goers, said Jeff Blake, president of worldwide marketing and distribution for Sony, which released the movie.

Like other successful updates such as ``Mission: Impossible,'' ``Charlie's Angels'' could become a movie franchise for Sony.

``It's one of those rare openings where you've got to at least think about a sequel. It's a crowd-pleasing film, and I think there's an appetite for it,'' Blake said.

``Bagger Vance'' played mainly to movie-goers older than 25, according to distributor DreamWorks. Many reviewers disliked the movie, calling it shallow.

``It's a good opening, but certainly not a great opening,'' said Jim Tharp, head of distribution for DreamWorks.

Two limited-release hits continued to do well. The sweet British film ``Billy Elliot'' grossed $1.1 million in just 119 cinemas, up from 37 last weekend. It averaged $9,224 a theater and moves into 400 to 500 theaters Friday.

``Requiem for a Dream,'' a somber examination of drug abuse and degradation, expanded from four theaters to 25 and took in $260,000 for a $10,400 average.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures are to be released Monday.

1. ``Charlie's Angels,'' $40.5 million.

2. ``Meet the Parents,'' $13.1 million.

3. ``The Legend of Bagger Vance,'' $12 million.

4. ``Remember the Titans,'' $7 million.

5. ``Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2,'' $5.3 million.

6. ``Bedazzled,'' $4.7 million.

7. ``Pay It Forward,'' $4.4 million.

8. ``The Little Vampire,'' $3.6 million.

9. ``Lucky Numbers,'' $2.2 million.

10. ``The Legend of Drunken Master,'' $1.6 million.