Blame the start of the Euro 2000 soccer tournament or blame the warmer weather, but no amount of counter-programming could prevent last weekend's box office retreating to the traditional pre-summer holiday season low. The only film to open with any redeemable gross was Woody Allen's Sweet And Lowdown which took $152,624 from just 34 screens over its first three days and won a place at number ten in the chart.
The top three films, Gladiator, Final Destination and Maybe Baby, remaining in the same chart positions as last week, produced stable business and bolstered the weekend's total aggregate gross to $7.5m (£5m). Ridley Scott's roman epic remains untouchable at number one taking $2.1m (£1.4m) on its fifth weekend and has now grossed a running total of $32.1m (£21.4m).
But, according to Screen International's weekend box office figures, the four mid-range opening films (between 100 and 250 prints) fell below the radar of most cinema-goers. The worst performer was Eye Of The Beholder starring Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd which only made $155,468 (£103,386) from 175 screens - producing a screen average on par with the latest flop Honest starring British girl band All Saints. One place above Eye Of The Beholder at number 8 in the chart, the British film Gangster No. 1 performed a little better grossing $200,138 (£133,092). Backed by Channel Four and starring Malcolm McDowell of A Clockwork Orange fame, this gangster movie will be unlikely to see its total gross pass $1.5m (£1m).
At number five and six in the chart, the teen romantic comedy from 20th Century Fox Drive Me Crazy and the MGM's Minnie Driver-David Duchovny romantic drama Return To Me fared little better grossing $543,400 and $405,474 from 229 and 249 screens respectively. However the weekend's wooden spoon has to go to the English-language Russian-French epic directed by Nikita Mikhalkov The Barber Of Siberia which opened with just $8,219 from 18 screens.