Franchise Pictures' bang-em-up car-racing actioner Driven opened at the number one spot in the North American box office last weekend with an okay $13.1m from 2,905 sites. Directed by Renny Harlin and starring and written by Sylvester Stallone, the movie was poorly received by critics and its opening hardly looks like it will hold up well when the studio summer mega-movies start hitting screens next weekend kicked off by The Mummy Returns.
Featuring Kip Pardue as a rookie racer being coached by old-timer Stallone, with Til Schweiger as his rival on the tracks, Driven at least opened respectably for Franchise which has had a run of high-priced flops including Stallone's last movie Get Carter, Kurt Russell-starrer 3000 Miles To Graceland and the unforgettable Battlefield: Earth. Nevertheless the company had a prestige hit with Sean Penn's The Pledge - a competition entry at Cannes next month - and has high hopes for Jennifer Lopez-starrer Angel Eyes directed by Luis Mandoki which opens on May 18.
Besides, Driven was a mighty smash compared to the infamous screwball comedy Town And Country from New Line Cinema which finally opened with a paltry $3m from 2,222 sites. The oft-delayed movie which was greenlit and started shooting before its script was finished has received more publicity for its troubled production schedule than its quality as a movie although it was dismissed as lame by most critics. Directed by Peter Chelsom, it couldn't be salvaged by the mega-watt star power of Warren Beatty, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Garry Shandling, Jenna Elfman, Nastassja Kinski and Andie Macdowell.
Another disappointment on 1,818 screens was USA Films' One Night At McCool's, a comedy crime drama directed by first-timer Harold Zwart from Norway. Produced by Michael Douglas' Furthur Films and starring Douglas in a supporting role opposite Liv Tyler, Matt Dillon, John Goodman, Paul Reiser, Andrew Dice Clay and Reba McEntire, the film failed to catch fire with audiences, scoring a lacklustre $2m.
Meanwhile the only other opener of the week was The Forsaken, a low-budget horror movie from SPE's mid-range releasing division Screen Gems which took $3m at 1,514 theatres. Written and directed by JS Cardone and starring Kerr Smithm Brendan Fehr and Johnathon Schaech, the film is about a young man on his way to his sister's wedding who picks up a hitchhiker only to discover that he is the victim of a gang of vampires.
ESTIMATED TOP TEN US APRIL 27-29
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (-) Driven (Warner Bros) Franchise Pictures $13.1m --
2 (1) Bridget Jones's Diary (Miramax) Universal/StudioCanal $7.5m $36.2m
3 (2) Spy Kids (Dimension) Miramax International $5.7m $93.6m
4 (3) Along Came A Spider (Paramount) UIP $5.6m $54.7m
5 (4) Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles (Paramount) Kathy Morgan Int'l $4.6m $13.9m
6 (6) Blow (New Line) New Line International $3.2m $40.3m
7 (-) Town And Country (New Line) New Line International $3.05m --
8 (-) The Forsaken (Screen Gems) Columbia TriStar $3m --
9 (7) Joe Dirt (Columbia) Columbia TriStar $2.7m $22.7m
10 (5) Freddy Got Fingered (20th Century Fox) Fox International/Regency $2.5m $11.3m