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'Meet the Parents' Still in Charge for Second Weekend

Box Office * 'Remember the Titans' remains No. 2; satanic thriller 'Lost Souls' debuts third.

October 16, 2000|From Associated Press

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, reaching $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 $13.5 million. 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.

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

"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 while, "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. 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% 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' "Castaway"; "What Women Want" with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, and "Unbreakable," which re-teams 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 also tracks the box office.

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