Paramount Pictures enjoyed a strong estimated $15.1m opening with teen comedy Orange County over the weekend in North America but it was not big enough to topple New Line's The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring and Universal's A Beautiful Mind from the top two slots.

Fellowship, playing on 3,381 sites, took $16.2m to remain in the top position for the fourth consecutive weekend bringing its total gross to a spectacular $228.3m. A Beautiful Mind also played well in its second weekend on wide release, falling just five per cent to take $15.8m and a total of $59m. Both are lead Oscar candidates and both competing for the Best Picture (Drama) Golden Globe next weekend.

Orange County stars Colin Hanks (the son of Tom Hanks) as a student who hatches a wild plot to get into Stanford University, alongside Jack Black and another movie star child Schuyler Fisk (daughter of Sissy Spacek). Jake Kasdan (son of Lawrence Kasdan) directed. The film clearly caught a teen audience in a period awash with epic awards candidates.

Box office was down some 28% from the same weekend last year, although that was the Martin Luther King Jr holiday which in 2002 falls next weekend, when Columbia Pictures goes wide with Black Hawk Down and Disney releases its family adventure Snow Dogs.

On a point of interest, Tom Cruise-starrer Vanilla Sky looks headed for the $100m mark despite mixed reviews and a divided audience reception. That would make it Cruise's ninth film to pass the $100m mark, putting him on a level with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts as the only actors to have achieved that milestone. His other eight films are Top Gun, Rain Man, A Few Good Men, The Firm, Interview With The Vampire, Mission: Impossible, Jerry Maguire and Mission: Impossible 2.


Film (Distributor) International distribution Estimated weekend gross Estimated total to date

  • (1) The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Rings (New Line) New Line International $16.15m $228.3m
  • (2) A Beautiful Mind (Universal) DreamWorks SKG $15.8m $59m
  • (-) Orange County (Paramount) UIP $14.9m $144.1m
  • (3) Ocean's Eleven (Warner Bros) Warner Bros/Village Roadshow $7.5m $162.5m
  • (5) The Royal Tenenbaums (Buena Vista) BVI $6.4m $30m
  • (4) Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (Paramount) UIP $5.5m $69.1m
  • (6) Vanilla Sky (Paramount) UIP $5m $88.4m
  • (8) Kate & Leopold (Miramax) Miramax International $5m $37.4m
  • (18) Gosford Park (USA Films) Capitol Films $3.8m $6.7m
  • (9) Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone (Warner Bros) Warner Bros $3.4m $305m