'Parents' Does Well in Box Office

Monday, October 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The betrothal comedy ``Meet the Parents'' is settling in for a lengthy engagement at theaters.

The movie, co-starring Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller, topped the box office for a second straight weekend with $21.3 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday.

``Meet the Parents'' raised its total gross to $59 million in 10 days of release.

Denzel Washington's gridiron flick, ``Remember the Titans,'' was in second place for the second weekend in a row with a $13.5 million gross. The movie has made $64.7 million in 17 days.

A rush of new films bunched up behind the holdovers, opening with decent but unspectacular numbers.

The satanic-conspiracy thriller ``Lost Souls,'' starring Winona Ryder and Ben Chaplin, debuted in third place with $8.4 million.

``The Ladies Man,'' starring Tim Meadows in a big-screen take on his womanizing ``Saturday Night Live'' character, opened at No. 4 with $5.7 million.

``The Contender'' debuted in fifth place with $5.5 million. The drama about a vice presidential nominee caught in a sex scandal stars Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges and Gary Oldman.

The reissue of ``The Exorcist'' came in at No. 6 with $5.4 million. It expanded to 1,655 theaters, an increase of 505. The film has taken in $30.7 million in just over three weeks.

Robert Altman's latest film, ``Dr. T and the Women,'' was No. 7 with $5.2 million. The comedy stars Richard Gere as a gynecologist struggling with the many women in his life.

``These were all middle-of-the-road debuts, but I think everyone expected that `Meet the Parents' would dominate the box office again,'' said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc., which tracks movie attendance.

Overall, the top 12 films grossed $75.7 million, up 6.5 percent from the same weekend a year ago. It was the first time since midsummer that Hollywood scored an increase in revenues over 1999. With a weak slate of films, the industry was in a box-office funk throughout August and September.

Studios are counting on a continued upturn over the next couple of months, when some of their biggest releases hit theaters.

Debuts between late October and the end of the year include ``Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2''; ``Charlie's Angels''; ``Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas''; ''102 Dalmatians''; Tom Hanks' ``Cast Away''; ``What Women Want'' with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt and ``Unbreakable,'' which reteams Bruce Willis with M. Night Shyamalan, who wrote and directed ``The Sixth Sense.''

``When the holidays roll around, it's going to be a free-for-all. There'll be two or three blockbusters opening every weekend,'' said Robert Bucksbaum of Reel Source Inc., which tracks the box office.

In limited release, the British film ``Billy Elliot,'' about a boy in a mining town who bucks tradition to study ballet, had a promising U.S. debut. The movie opened in 10 theaters with $220,000 for an impressive $22,000 average per theater. By comparison, ``Lost Souls'' had a $4,263 average in 1,970 theaters.

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,'' $21.3 million.

2. ``Remember the Titans,'' $13.5 million.

3. ``Lost Souls,'' $8.4 million.

4. ``The Ladies Man,'' $5.7 million.

5. ``The Contender,'' $5.5 million.

6. ``The Exorcist,'' $5.4 million.

7. ``Dr. T and the Women,'' $5.2 million.

8. ``Get Carter,'' $2.7 million.

9 (tie). ``Almost Famous,'' $2.3 million.

9 (tie). ``Best in Show,'' $2.3 million.