'Meet the Parents' makes good impression on viewers

Monday, October 9th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES – Moviegoers gave a fine reception for the betrothal comedy Meet the Parents, helping to lift Hollywood out of the box-office doldrums.

The farce about a jittery prospective son-in-law (Ben Stiller) and his girlfriend's hard-nosed, overprotective father (Robert De Niro) debuted as the weekend's top film with $29.1 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

It was a record weekend for an October opening, beating the $17.2 million taken in by Antz two years ago. Meet the Parents also was a record opening for both Mr. De Niro and Mr. Stiller.

Denzel Washington's football-coaching flick Remember the Titans, last weekend's No. 1 film, held solidly at second place with $19.6 million, pushing its total to $46.2 million.

"These two films are really reinvigorating the marketplace. If we start seeing other films stack up in this range, we'll get some depth at the box office," said Paul Dergarabedian, of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations Co.

Bamboozled, Spike Lee's assault on television and racial issues, also debuted strongly, taking in $175,000 in 17 theaters for a $10,294 average. Distributor New Line plans to expand it by about 200 theaters Oct. 20.

Here are the estimated weekend totals for the top 10 films:

1. Meet the Parents $29.1 million

2. Remember the Titans $19.6 million

3. Get Carter $6.7 million

4. The Exorcist $4.6 million

5. Digimon: The Movie $4.1 million

6. Almost Famous $3.8 million

7. Urban Legends: Final Cut $2.6 million

8. Bring It On $2.2 million

9. What Lies Beneath $1.2 million

10. (tie) Nurse Betty, The Watcher $1.1 million