Comedy Films Rein in Moviegoers

Monday, October 23rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Audiences went to ``Meet the Parents'' and were bemused by ``Bedazzled'' as the box office turned healthy after a midsummer slump.

The Robert de Niro and Ben Stiller comedy ``Meet the Parents'' was the No. 1 movie for a third weekend with $16.3 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday. Its total take climbed to $81 million in just 17 days.

``Bedazzled,'' starring Brendan Fraser as a man who sells his soul to Satan (Elizabeth Hurley), debuted in second place with $13.7 million.

The tearjerker ``Pay It Forward,'' starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment, premiered at No. 3 with $10.2 million. The movie centers on a boy who develops a plan to spread good deeds.

Despite its star power, it barely edged out Denzel Washington's ``Remember the Titans,'' which held strong with $10 million for fourth place. The football drama has taken in $77.4 million in just over three weeks.

``Pay It Forward'' received mixed reviews, with many critics faulting it as maudlin and manipulative. But studio executives were pleased with the debut.

``It's a very special kind of film,'' said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., which released ``Pay It Forward.'' ``Considering the movie plays mainly to older audiences, and considering you had the World Series this weekend, we were pleased it did as well as it did.''

Jackie Chan's ``The Legend of Drunken Master,'' a 6-year-old action flick making its U.S. debut, opened in fifth place with $3.7 million.

With four films grossing $10 million or more, the overall box office took a healthy upturn. The top 12 movies took in $72.6 million, up 14 percent from the same weekend last year.

Though Hollywood had been in a box-office slump since midsummer, revenues for 2000 are about even with the record pace of last year, when the industry took in $7.5 billion.

A wave of potential hits rolls into theaters starting this weekend with ``Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.''

The following weekend brings ``Charlie's Angels,'' and ``Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas'' arrives the weekend before Thanksgiving.

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

1. ``Meet the Parents,'' $16.3 million.

2. ``Bedazzled,'' $13.7 million.

3. ``Pay It Forward,'' $10.2 million.

4. ``Remember the Titans,'' $10 million.

5. ``The Legend of Drunken Master,'' $3.7 million.

6. ``The Contender,'' $3.6 million.

7. ``Lost Souls,'' $3.3 million.

8 (tie). ``The Exorcist,'' $2.9 million.

8 (tie). ``The Ladies Man,'' $2.9 million.

10. ``Dr. T and the Women,'' $2.5 million.

Comedy Films Rein in Moviegoers

Sleepy Summer in Hollywood


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Internet Movie Database