November 11, 2002 
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Chloe Greenfield and Kim Basinger in 8 Mile
Curtis Hanson strikes gold with 8 Mile
The Ring, My Big Fat Greek Wedding maintain their clout at USBO

Arthur J Pais

Director Curtis Hanson's best known film, the multiple Oscar-nominated L A Confidential grossed about $60 million in three months about five years ago. His new film 8 Mile, which could also be a strong Oscar contender, grossed almost that amount in just three days.

In what was one of the strongest weeks for Hollywood, 8 Mile, starring the controversial rap artist Eminem, stunned the industry by grossing $55 million in just three days. A number of holdovers, including The Santa Clause 2, held on strongly. The ever resilient My Big Fat Greek Wedding increased its gross by about 3 per cent. With $5.7 million grossed over the weekend, Greek Wedding has reached about $193 million.

The surprise hit The Ring dipped just about 15 per cent, grossing about $16 million taking its total to $84 million. The movie which is also shaping into sizeable international hit, surprised many industry watchers when it remained at the top position in Japan for two weeks, with a $10 million total gross.

The success was surprising especially since it is a remake of a far superior Japanese horror movie which was a big hit there.

While young audiences will undoubtedly flock to Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets in huge numbers next weekend, Santa Clause 2 will still have a good box-office future. It will gain from spillover business.

Besides, there would be many young viewers who would want to see both Potter and the Tim Allen comedy. The new Santa Clause movie, which dropped by about 25 per cent from last weekend, has grossed $60 million, and could total $125-$140 million.

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The autobiographical 8 Mile, which stays away for most part from the sexist and violent lyrics of Eminem, was made for about $40 million and could breakeven in just about nine days when it could have run fast to $80 million. In the case of most high profile movies, the producers get back about 60 per cent of the gross in the first two weeks, the rest going to the exhibitors. In the next few ensuing weeks, the gross is divided equally between the producer and the exhibitors, and thereafter, the exhibitors keep about 60 per cent of the gross.

David Dorfman and Naomi Watts in The Ring For Universal Pictures, the huge success of 8 Mile makes up for the disappointment over the medium range hit Red Dragon which might end its North American run with about $95 million and The Truth About Charlie, which may end with just about $15 million.

The week's only sore note was sounded by the erotic thriller Femme Fatale (starring Antonio Banderas, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos), which grossed just about $2.8 million in about 1,000 theatres, and may end its brief run with less than $10 million. For director Brian De Palma, who has seen few flops in his illustrious career that includes such hits as The Untouchables and Mission: Impossible, this would be the biggest flop.

For Adam Sandler, the hope of being seen in a hit movie that is also a huge critical hit, has vanished. Punch-Drunk Love, which is one of the best reviewed films of the year, began on a high note and a huge per theater average but as it started expanding, the film steadily lost its steam. It has grossed a meager $14.6 million and may end its run with just about $20 million. Though the film was made for a modest budget of about $30 million, it still needs a big DVD sale and good run abroad to break even.


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