DreamWorks SKG had another hit opening in North America over the weekend with its supernatural thriller What Lies Beneath raking in $30.1m to take the number one slot at the box office. 20th Century Fox has international rights to the film which it co-produced with DreamWorks as part of a four picture deal which also includes Tom Hanks-starrer Cast Away and Steven Spielberg's Minority Report which will star Tom Cruise. What Lies Beneath is directed by Robert Zemeckis, who also directed Cast Away, and adds to his cannon of hit films which also includes Back To The Future, Forrest Gump and Contact.
The movie, which stars Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer as a happily married couple who discover ghosts in their house, was met with mixed reviews from critics but its clever trailer and poster campaign had built impressive want-to-see among audiences - especially women who composed 61% of the film's viewers. Its opening was enough to displace another Fox movie from the top slot. X-Men lost 56% of its audience in its second weekend to take $23.7m, bringing its ten day total to $99.5m.
Box office was up approximately 4% from the same weekend last year, extending the box office recovery this summer which began a fortnight ago with the opening of Scary Movie. This week Scary Movie sailed past the $100m barrier - the eighth film this year to do so - and is destined to become the biggest grossing Miramax release to date.
Another powerful new entry was Pokemon The Movie 2000 which opened with $21.5m, about $10m less than its predecessor last November, but still impressive considering the fading of the Pokemon craze amongst American children.
However two teen movies - Columbia's Loser and Warner Bros/Morgan Creek's The In Crowd - flopped over the weekend, perhaps signalling the beginning of the end for the teen phenomenon which has been such a significant component in the US box office over the last two years. Loser took $6.1m while The In Crowd failed to make the top ten with just $1.47m.
The box office looks set to maintain its winning streak next weekend with the release of Universal's eagerly awaited Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.
ESTIMATED TOP TEN US JULY 21-23
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (-) What Lies Beneath (DreamWorks SKG) 20th Century Fox $30.1m --
2 (1) X-Men (20th Century Fox) 20th Century Fox $23.7m $99.5m
3 (-) Pokemon The Movie 2000 (Warner Bros) Warner Bros $21.5m --
4 (2) Scary Movie (Miramax) Miramax International $14.9m $116.3m
5 (3) The Perfect Storm (Warner Bros) Warner Bros $9.5m $145.2m
6 (5) Disney's The Kid (Buena Vista) BVI $7m $42.6m
7 tied (-) Loser (Columbia) Columbia TriStar $6.1m --
7 tied (4) The Patriot (Columbia) Columbia TriStar $6.1m $93.3m
9 (8) Chicken Run (DreamWorks SKG) UIP/Pathe $4.8m $86.2m
10 (9) Me, Myself & Irene (20th Century Fox) 20th Century Fox $3.1m $83.1m