'Hollow Man', 'Space Cowboys' battle to draw

Monday, August 14th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES – Curmudgeon astronauts and an invisible maniac topped the movie marquees, with strikebreaking football players and May-December lovers close behind.

Space Cowboys and Hollow Man tied for first place at the weekend box office with $13.1 million apiece, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Hollow Man, starring Kevin Bacon and Elisabeth Shue, debuted at No. 1 while Clint Eastwood's Space Cowboys opened in third place a week earlier. But Space Cowboys held more strongly in its second weekend, its take dropping just 28 percent, compared with a 50 percent drop for Hollow Man.

The rankings could change when final numbers are released Monday. It was an unusual weekend, with no film dominating and the top seven movies bunched within a few million dollars.

Autumn in New York, the Richard Gere-Winona Ryder tearjerker, debuted at No. 3 with $11.5 million. Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman's The Replacements, a comedy about misfit players during a football strike, opened at No. 4 with $11.1 million.

Two holdovers were Nos. 5 and 6, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps with $10.3 million and What Lies Beneath with $9.8 million. The supernatural tale Bless the Child, starring Kim Basinger and Jimmy Smits, premiered at No. 7 with $9.6 million.

August typically is a slow month for Hollywood. With summer waning, films cluster together and post smaller grosses as "blockbuster fatigue sets in," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, which tracks movie-ticket sales.

Overall, the top 12 films grossed $97.7 million, down 13.7 percent from last year and continuing a summer slump behind 1999's record summer revenues of $3 billion.

Autumn in New York posted the best per-theater average among wide-release films at $5,100 in 2,255 cinemas. The film debuted solidly even though distributor MGM chose not to screen it for reviewers beforehand, usually a sign the movie is a bomb.

Larry Gleason, MGM head of distribution, said the studio scrapped advance screenings because of the somber subject matter, a romance between a man and a dying younger woman.