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|June 30, 2001||
Fast and Furious runs Tomb Raider to the ground
A crowded box office couldn't stop The Fast And The Furious as it raced past the competition to a spectacular $ 40.1 million tally in its opening weekend, surprising many analysts.
"This film has no major stars or special effects. And there was no huge marketing campaign like Disney did for Pearl Harbor," noted Boxofficeguru.com editor Gitesh Pandya, who predicted a haul of $ 18 million for Furious. "But it connected with its core audience."
Pandya said it was a case of the right film being released at the right time.
"It's a subject matter (street racing) that's hot right now and teens want to see it," he observed. "There are a lot more moviegoers out there that want to have fun."
Marketing for The Fast And The Furious, starring Vin Diesel and Jordana Brewster, began in early May when The Mummy Returns opened. Though it opened to mixed reviews, critics praised Furious for its fast-paced action sequences.
"The film will appeal to the inner juvenile delinquent in all of us," wrote one reviewer.
Furious, which cost $ 38 million, grossed an impressive $ 5.2 million on Monday and the figure is likely to reach $ 6 million on Tuesday.
"It's just an exciting, heart-thumping type of movie," Pandya said.
As schools begin to close their doors for the summer, there will be more teens in Cineplex's, which bodes well for Furious.
"As school gets out, the mid-week grosses get stronger," Pandya said. "So definitely, I think that this film will hold up better than, Tomb Raider."
Furious may also be bolstered by an unlikely audience.
"When you have a surprise hit such as Furious, people who ordinarily won't see the film now want to see it and see what's it about," Pandya said.
Furious wasn't the only film opening last weekend: Fox's Dr Dolittle 2, starring Eddie Murphy, opened to a strong $ 25 million.
"It's a pretty good total considering there are two films, Shrek and Atlantis, out there that appeal to children," Pandya said.
Dr Dolittle 2, the sequel to the 1998 hit, may also hold up well in the upcoming weeks. It cost $ 70 million and might end up with $ 100 million in North America. The original, grossed around $ 290 million worldwide, $ 144 million in North America.
"Eddie Murphy sells tickets overseas," Pandya remarked, about the potential for the sequel abroad. "It's going to be a money-maker, not like the Babe sequel which flopped."
The top five films also included Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, which dropped nearly 60 percent in its second weekend to end with $ 19.8 million, for third place. With nearly $ 84 million in the bank, it looks to end its run in North America with $ 130 million.
"This was an expected drop," Pandya noted. "Similar movies such as Mortal Kombat, The X Files and X-Men dropped 55 to 56 percent in their second weekends."
Disney's Atlantis and DreamWorks' Shrek continued to attract audiences, as they grossed $ 12.6 million and $ 10.4 million respectively.
Come this weekend and Steven Spielberg's A.I. will add to the congestion at the BO. Many predict that A.I. will be one of the year's highest grossing films.
"It should open big," Pandya said. "They're not giving anything away in the commercials which is a good move."
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