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''Eye of the Beholder'' tops the box office

Ashley Judd outguns Bette Midler on a weak Super Bowl weekend

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The Super Bowl always means a slow weekend at the box office, and this year’s addition of snowstorms further sidelined audiences. ”Eye of the Beholder” debuted at No. 1 — but with an estimated $6.2 million, that total wasn’t exactly a touchdown. In fact, ”Eye” was the lowest Super Bowl-weekend top grosser since 1997, when ”Jerry Maguire” took in $5.9 million (although not in its first weekend).

However, there’s a chance that when final tallies come in today, ”Eye” may find itself upset. The two movies tying for second place — ”The Hurricane” and ”Next Friday” — claim a close $6 million, and Universal (which is behind ”Hurricane”) says that the numbers for ”Eye” are inflated and ”Hurricane” will be proved the real champ. (And you thought all the boxing is done in the ring?) Rounding out the weekend’s top 5 movies are ”Stuart Little” ($4.8 million) and ”The Green Mile” ($4.1 million).

Even if ”Eye” does slip, its studio, Destination, should still be happy the film finished anywhere in the top 5, considering it has been sitting on the shelf for over a year and received the evil eye from critics. ”Eye”’s success is a tribute to the popularity of Ashley Judd, who proved with ”Double Jeopardy” that she can turn a mess into a hit.

Unfortunately for her, Bette Midler can’t. Her Jacqueline Susann biopic ”Isn’t She Great” (which tempted fate with that title) premiered with an abysmal $1.3 million, way down in 16th place. And in other lousy news (or really good news, depending on your perspective), the gross of ”Down to You” (which debuted in second place last week) went down — WAY down — 47 percent, landing it in sixth, with $4 million. This drop almost doubles the fall of every other top movie this week.

CRITICAL MASS In EW’s online Critical Mass Movie Poll, our readers concurred with critics that the ”Eye of the Beholder” is better off shut: The movie earned a D+. But supporting the notion that Judd is bankable even in crap, 61 percent of voters said they went to see the film because of its stars. Midler and Nathan Lane, the leads of ”Isn’t She Great,” also lured fans to their movie (albeit far fewer of them): 60 percent of voters said the actors were the reason they saw the comedy, and they were more forgiving than Judd’s followers, giving ”Great” a C. To vote on these and other current movies, visit the EW Critical Mass Movie Poll.