Dan Winters
April 17, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Young whippersnappers Sandra Bullock and Ed Norton put up a noble fight at the box office this weekend, but they were no match against that old-school tough guy Tommy Lee Jones. ”Rules of Engagement” held on to the top spot for a second week with $10.9 million, forcing Bullock’s ”28 Days” to settle for a close second with $10.4 million. Norton’s romantic comedy ”Keeping the Faith” landed in third with $8.2 million. Unfortunately, another old school tough guy didn’t fare as well as Jones: Paul Newman’s heist caper, ”Where the Money Is,” found little green at the box office, opening in 11th place. The movie made a paltry $2.7 million despite an aggressive advertising campaign and the inescapable supermarket presence of the guy on the spaghetti sauce jars.

Though females flocked to theaters to see ”28 Days” and males showed up in droves for ”Rules of Engagement,” almost everybody seemed to leave the kids at home. ”The Road to El Dorado” finished in fifth place with just $6.2 million, while the teen thriller ”The Skulls” dropped to eighth place with $4 million. ”Erin Brockovich” nabbed the fourth slot with $7 million, bringing its total gross to $99.3 million. The movie is expected to break the $100 million mark by Tuesday. But it isn’t likely that ”American Psycho” will ever see that kind of moolah. The satire about a Wall Street broker turned serial killer opened in seventh place with just $4.9 million.

CRITICAL MASS Though ”American Psycho” raked in $3,964 per theater, a number that only ”28 Days” was able to top, our online Critical Mass Movie poll suggests the film won’t be slashing any box office records after opening weekend. The movie scored a ho-hum B- overall, and viewers were evenly divided between the ”loved it” and ”hated it” camps. While 33 percent of viewers said the movie was better than they expected, 33 percent said that it was worse. Not surprisingly, women gave the movie a slightly less enthusiastic grade than men, rating it as a B- versus males’ B rating.

”28 Days” received slightly warmer reviews. Receiving a B overall, 48 percent said Bullock’s rehab comedy was better than expected, and 52 percent said they would recommend the film to friends. Despite several flops on her résumé, Bullock’s star power seems undiminished. Fifty-two percent of voters said they were drawn to theaters because of the movie’s stars. We’re guessing Bullock still has what it takes, unless it was that cameo by Steve Buscemi that got them all hot and bothered.

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