Julia Roberts maintained her grip on American moviegoers’ hearts and wallets as ”Erin Brockovich” remained the top moneymaker at the box office for the third week in a row, taking in another $13.8 million this weekend. So far the legal drama has grossed $75.8 million, all but assuring that ”Erin” will be Roberts’ third film in a row to make over $100 million.
Meanwhile, it’s back to the drawing board for Jeffrey Katzenberg’s plans to crush Disney in the animated-movie game: ”The Road to El Dorado” had to settle for a second-place opening with a not-overly-impressive $12.9 million. Even Nickelodeon’s kid-friendly ”Snow Day” had a bigger opening, with $14.3 million in February… and that had Chevy Chase, for crying out loud.
Bright news for studio heads came with the realization that the teen market has not abandoned them. One week after young moviegoers largely ignored ”Here on Earth” and ”Whatever It Takes,” they were intrigued enough by the college conspiracy thriller ”The Skulls” — spiting critics who called it an ivy-covered disaster — to open it in third place with $11.0 million.
And John Cusack is giving Joshua Jackson even more good news: Teen stars can grow into popular adult stars. Cusack’s “High Fidelity” debuted in fifth place with $6.4 million. (“Romeo Must Die” came in fourth with $9.4 million.) It’s not as low as it seems, since Disney only opened it in 1,183 theaters (compared to “The Skulls”‘ 2,412) and it had the highest per-screen average of any new opener, with $5,435.
CRITICAL MASS John Cusack may not have as many fans as Julia Roberts, but they’re extremely loyal. In our online Critical Mass Movie Poll, EW readers gave ”High Fidelity” an impressive B+, and 50 percent of voters said they went to see the film because of Cusack.
This fan worship even beat out that of young upstart Joshua Jackson: 41 percent of those who saw ”The Skulls” said they went to see him. (The film itself averaged a B.) Of course, stars were a minor concern with the B-rated ”El Dorado” (8 percent gave it as their incentive for going), no surprise considering the movie was animated and no stars were visible. But considering Kevin Kline’s last major showcase was ”Wild Wild West,” maybe it was best that he hid behind a cartoon for a while.
To vote on these and other current movies, visit EW Online’s Critical Mass Movie Poll.