Box Office: Spy Kids Captures No. 1

Spy Kids, the first family movie in theaters since See Spot Run opened eight weeks ago, easily captured the No. 1 spot at the weekend box office.

The film, about pint-sized action heroes who must rescue their spy parents (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino) from an evil genius (Alan Cumming), opened with an estimated $27 million.

It's now the fourth-biggest March opening, behind Liar, Liar, Erin Brockovich, and The Matrix. It's also the best opening for director Robert Rodriguez, easily surpassing the debuts of his adult-oriented action films The Faculty ($11.6 million), From Dusk Till Dawn ($10.2 million), and Desperado ($7.9 million).

Audiences Prefer Ashley in Action Mode Opening at No. 2 was the romantic comedy Someone Like You, starring Ashley Judd as a talk show talent booker who concocts a theory about the animal nature of men after being dumped by her beau (Greg Kinnear). The film, which co-stars Hugh Jackman as Judd's womanizing roommate, debuted with $10.3 million.

While that number is better than Judd's last films, Where the Heart Is and the bizarre art-house flop Eye of the Beholder, it lags considerably behind the impressive openings of her action films Double Jeopardy ($23.2 million) and Kiss the Girls ($13.2 million). Ironically, when Eye of the Beholder opened last January, the box office was weak enough for it to take the No. 1 spot, even with a mere $5.9 million.

Tomcats Fails to Impress Also new in theaters this weekend is the raunchy, poorly reviewed sex comedy Tomcats, which opened in fourth place with $6.5 million. The film, which co-stars Jerry O'Connell and Shannon Elizabeth, has been unfavorably compared to such recent crude comedies as Whipped and Say It Isn't So.

Last week's openers Heartbreakers and The Brothers both slipped two places to settle in third and fifth place, respectively.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Traffic saw boosts after winning four Oscars apiece, placing in eighth and ninth place, respectively, after several weeks each in the Top 10. Also basking in post-Oscar glory is Best Picture winner Gladiator, which is back in theaters, playing on 500 screens.

The Top 10 films for March 30-April 1, 2001:

Spy Kids, $27 million Someone Like You, $10.3 million Heartbreakers, $8.2 million Tomcats, $6.5 million The Brothers, $5.8 million Enemy at the Gates, $5.3 million Exit Wounds, $5.2 million Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, $5 million Traffic, $4.2 million The Mexican, $2.6 million

Final figures will be released Monday.