Miramax Films' teen romance Down To You topped the US box office chart over the weekend with an estimated $8.3m, a small margin over last weekend's top film Next Friday, which came in this weekend with an estimated $8.2m.
However, Down To You took only half of Miramax's 1999 She's All That which topped the box office almost exactly a year ago (Jan 29-31 weekend) with a $16m opening. That went on to become Miramax's biggest 1999 hit with a box office total of $63.4m.
In the movie, Freddy Prinze and Julia Stiles (Ten Things I Hate About You, Sundance premiere Hamlet) play a college couple in crisis after a grad student turned porn star (Selma Blair) leads Prinze astray. The film is the directorial debut of Kris Isaacsson who also wrote it. Producers on the film are indie veterans Joana Vicente and Jason Kliot, whose credits include Three Seasons.
New Line's Next Friday, last week's box office champion, took an estimated $8.2m after its impressive opening of $21.5m in its first six days. Next Friday, with an estimated $32m total after 12 days, has already outgrossed the $27.5m total scored by Friday in 1995.
Figures are merely estimates at this point, and at time of going to press, New Line was claiming that Next Friday beat Down To You. Next Friday certainly had a higher screen average, playing on only 1,175 screens.
Meanwhile Beacon Pictures/Universal's The Hurricane, which won the Best Actor (drama) Golden Globe award for Denzel Washington, came in at number three with $7m.
Only other new entry was Ron Shelton's Play It To The Bone, a boxing comedy independently produced by Shelton and Stephen Chin's Shanghai'd Films. Shanghai'd sold the movie to Buena Vista domestically and licensed international rights to Buena Vista Film Sales in a separate deal. The picture, which teams Woody Harrelson and Antonio Banderas grossed only $3.5m on 1,556 screens.
Angela's Ashes (pictured), which Paramount is releasing domestically (Universal/UIP has international rights), went wide on 610 screens and grossed a mild $3.3m. The movie has generally been excluded from the critics' "ten best" lists and won a single Golden Globe nomination for John Williams' score. Another potential awards contender Buena Vista's Cradle Will Rock, widened to 506 screens and grossed a disappointing $600,000. UGC International has foreign rights to the picture.
ESTIMATED TOP TEN US JAN 21-23
1. Down To You (Miramax Films) Miramax International $8.3m $8.3m
2. Next Friday (New Line) New Line International $8.2m $32m
3. The Hurricane (Universal) Beacon Pictures/BVI $7m $23.4m
4. Stuart Little (Columbia) Columbia TriStar $6.5m $117m
5. The Green Mile (Warner Bros) Universal/UIP $5.5m $109.7m
6. Galaxy Quest (DreamWorks SKG) UIP $4.8m $54.6m
7. Girl, Interrupted (Columbia) Columbia TriStar $4.4m $16.3m
8. The Talented Mr Ripley (Paramount) Miramax International $3.9m $68.4m
9. Play It To The Bone (Buena Vista) Buena Vista Film Sales $3.5m $3.5m
10. Angela's Ashes (Paramount) Universal $3.3m $3.7m