”Mission: Impossible 2” hung on to No. 1 in its second week with a $27 million take, claiming a narrow victory over ”Big Momma’s House”’s No. 2 debut at $25.7 million. Despite searing reviews, ”Big Momma’s” was the best opening yet for its star Martin Lawrence, beating the premieres of 1999’s ”Blue Streak” ($19.2 million) and ”Life” ($20.4 million). Though ”Mission” suffered a 53 percent drop from last weekend, the Tom Cruise pic’s 12-day gross is a hunky $130.7 million, making it the third film this year to surpass the century mark, after ”Erin Brockovich” and ”Gladiator.” While Paramount execs say the John Woo sequel will earn more than $200 million in its domestic run, don’t expect it to hang on to No. 1 much longer. Jerry Bruckheimer’s ”Gone in 60 Seconds” is likely to steal the top spot when it opens on Friday.
”Big Momma’s House” was the only blockbuster opener this week, with rest of the top 5 taken up by enduring holdovers. Disney’s ”Dinosaur” dropped to No. 3 in its third week, earning $12 million and pushing its total up to $96.8 million. The Jackie Chan-Owen Wilson comedy ”Shanghai Noon” (No. 4) roped in nearly $9 million, bringing its 10-day total to $32.2 million. ”Gladiator” (No. 5) stayed in the ring with $8.4 million, bringing the 31-day total for the DreamWorks Roman saga up to $139 million. The weekend’s only other newcomer, Demi Moore’s ”Passion of Mind,” bottomed out with only $220,000 on a mere 104 screens.
CRITICAL MASS The critics may have panned ”Big Momma’s House,” but EW Online readers thought the sole urban comedy in this summer’s top 10 was a welcome relief. Voters gave the Martin Lawrence flick an ample B, well over the critics’ average grade of D+. The highest marks for the pic came from Southerners, who scored it an A+, while more rarefied readers in the Northeast marked it a lowly D. Women gave Martin Lawrence and Nia Long’s comic chemistry an A-, while male voters were far less interested, rating it a B-.
Good grades aside, it’s hard to say whether ”Big Momma” can hang on to its purse when next week’s newcomers enter the race. Voters were fairly middling in the all-important word-of-mouth critique. While some 33 percent said that they would definitely recommend ”Big Momma” to others, about 22 percent were sure that they would not. Not bad, until you compare those numbers to this week’s victor. Only 5 percent of readers said that they would not advise others to see ”Mission: Impossible 2,” while 79 percent were enthusiastic about recommending it to friends.
To vote on these and other current movies, visit our Critical Mass Movie Poll.