North American youths continued to gobble American Pie 2, keeping the gross-out comedy at the top spot for its third weekend and easily vaulting it over the $100m mark. Its take of $12.9m gives it an estimated 17-day gross of $109.6m. The other sequel of the moment, Rush Hour 2, kept pace with a solid $11.4m to hold second place for the third weekend in a row. At $183.3m over 24 days, the Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker vehicle is on track for a $200m gross.
Theirs was a minor feat in light of weak company. Among the new releases, Miramax's Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back provided the only meaningful competition. Distributed by Miramax, the Kevin Smith-directed comedy starring Smith and Jason Mewes as the eponymous duo, earned an impressive $11.1m to take the third spot. The other newcomers were shunned, with Warner Bros' baseball camp romance Summer Catch collecting $7.5m for sixth place and John Carpenter's Ghosts Of Mars bringing distributor Screen Gems a lack-lustre ninth-place finish at $3.8m. To no one's surprise, audiences were immune to the charms of Buena Vista's medical tragedy comedy Bubble Boy. Its $2m take left it out of the top ten.
Also failing to make the top ten was Woody Allen's The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion, the first of Allen's three-picture deal with DreamWorks. Despite an enticing cast, including Helen Hunt and Charlize Theron, the period hypnosis comedy didn't cast the spell anticipated. Although it didn't open in nearly as many theatres as other new entrants, Curse's $2.5m take was a distant step back from Allen's previous film, Small Time Crooks, which grossed a healthy $17.3m on release in Summer 2000.
As for the hold-overs, Nicole Kidman-starrer The Others held steady at fourth position, scaring up another $8.6m to lift its gross to an approximate $41m. Also keeping up appearances was the Farrelly Brothers' Rat Race, last weekend's best opener. Business for the ensemble road comedy was off only 25%, from $11.8m to $8.3 to give it fifth position. Buena Vista's The Princess Diaries was also holding its own in the middle of the chart, slipping two notches to seventh spot on a gross of $6.7m.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin continued its downward spiral, drawing only $3.9m in its second week. Miramax/BVI's May UK release of the film is looking smarter and smarter; it's doubtful the film would have earned $13m in the UK following a flop in North America.
The sluggish box office weekend reflected the end-of-summer doldrums: nonetheless, the season is on track to top last year's $3bn. Slow as the weekend was, the top 12 films grossed $82.5m, a 10% premium on the same weekend last year
ESTIMATED TOP TEN NORTH AMERICA AUGUST 24-26
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (1) American Pie 2 (Universal) UIP $12.8m $109.6m
2 (2) Rush Hour 2 (New Line) New Line International $11.4m $183.3m
3 (-) Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back (Miramax) Miramax $11.1m --
4 (4) The Others (Miramax) StudioCanal $8.6m $41m
5 (3) Rat Race (Paramount) Fireworks Pictures $8.3m $20.5m
6 (-) Summer Catch (Warner Bros.) Warner Bros. $7.5m --
7 (5) The Princess Diaries (Buena Vista) BVI $6.7m $76.9m
8 (6) Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Universal) StudioCanal/UIP/BVI $3.9m $11m
9 (-) John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars (Screen Gems) Columbia TriStar Int'l $3.8m --
10 (7) Planet Of The Apes (20th Century Fox) Fox International $3.5m $165m