Neither avalanches nor illicit romance nor computer-generated dragons could unseat the Grinch from his own Mount Crumpit, the top of the box office
For the fourth week in a row, Jim Carrey's grouchy mugging in Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas has bested all newcomers. This weekend, the luckless challengers were the mountain rescue adventure pic Vertical Limit, which settled for second place and $16 million; and the Meg Ryan-Russell Crowe romancer Proof of Life, which debuted in third place with $10.4 million.
Grinch On its Way to No. 1 of 2000 The Grinch added $18.5 million to its coffers this weekend, and has now earned $195.5 million, blowing past Gladiator as the second-highest-grossing film of 2000. Exhibitor Relations' Paul Dergarabedian predicts that it will easily surpass Mission: Impossible 2's $215 million take, and will do so in about half the time.
The last film to go four-for-four in No. 1 weekends was Meet the Parents, and the last film to top that was The Sixth Sense's with five No. 1 weekends in a row in 1999. Titanic still holds the record, having spent 15 weeks at No. 1.
Limit, Proof Have Limited Appeal Box-office analysts predicted that the adrenaline-inducing mountaintop heroics of Vertical Limit, which stars Chris O'Donnell and Robin Tunney, would be the film to unseat Universal's furry green moneymaker. Still, a $16 million December debut is "nothing to cry about," says Dergarabedian.
Although Gladiator sword-wielder Crowe still cuts a fine action figure in Proof (with a few critics already hailing him as "the new Bogie" for his part in the Casablanca-like tale), the film from director Taylor Hackford didn't show anything like the drawing power of Gladiator's $34.8 million opening in May. Insert your own box-office quarterbacking here: Could be that the public had gotten enough of the real-life romance between Crowe and Ryan in the tabloids, or that Ryan's perfectly coifed presence in the drama still made it too much of a "chick flick" to appeal to guys.
Expectations weren't high for the other new film in wide release, the many-years-in-the-making Dungeons & Dragons, based on the popular role-playing game. A huge fanbase helped the New Line film open in fifth place, with $7 million.
Rounding out the Top Five was M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable, with $7.5 million. After three weeks, the film has earned $77.4 million, putting it behind The Sixth Sense, which had already racked up $107 million at the end of three weeks in release.
Tiger Impressive in Limited Release Playing in limited release, the critically acclaimed martial arts epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon from director Ang Lee earned $686,657 from 16 sites in New York. The film, which was named Best Foreign Film this week by the National Board of Review, opens wide Dec. 22.
Also packing them in was the new film from Madonna's soon-to-be-husband, Guy Ritchie. Snatch, which stars Brad Pitt, took in $27,000 from its sole site. It hits a theater near you on January 19.
The Top 10 films for Dec. 8-10, 2000:
1. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, $18.5 million 2. Vertical Limit, $16 million 3. Proof of Life, $10.4 million 4. Unbreakable, $7.5 million 5. Dungeons & Dragons, $7 million 6. 102 Dalmatians, $6.3 million 7. Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, $4 million 8. Meet the Parents, $3 million 9. Charlie's Angels, $2.7 million 10. Bounce, $2.6 million
Final figures will be released Monday.