”Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” snatched the No. 1 spot from two week box office toppers ”Charlie’s Angels” with a record hoard of $55.1 million. The debut of Jim Carrey’s live action version of the miserly holiday villain was the highest ever for a nonsequel or prequel — and the fifth best weekend opening to date. Even though critics were hardly pleased with the Ron Howard directed feature, analysts say the kid targeted classic was immune to fiscal failure. ”This is a family film that was impervious to any critical thrashings that it received,” Exhibitor Relations prez Paul Dergarabedian told the Associated Press. ”The Grinch was everywhere. Especially if you’re a kid, there’s no way you could not know that the Grinch was coming to town.”
In fact, it looked a lot like Christmas at the box office this weekend. Another family friendly film, ”Rugrats in Paris: The Movie,” took second place with a $22.7 million debut — knocking ”Angels” ($13.4 million) to No. 3. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s clone flick, ”The 6th Day,” took the No. 4 position ($13 million). Meanwhile, the Ben Affleck/ Gwyneth Paltrow romance ”Bounce” rounded out the top five ($11.4 million). Overall, the box office soared, as the top 12 films grossed $148.3 million — 42 percent more dough than the same time last year. Looks like a few Hollywood execs are due for a big time Christmas bonus.
CRITICAL MASS Of the four newcomers, Affleck and Paltrow’s ”Bounce” earned the best reviews from EW.com readers. Voters gave the ray of light tear jerker a B+, only slightly lower than the critics’ average of A-. Moreover, some 67 percent said they’d recommend the film to friends, while a healthy 38 percent said they’d like to see the Oscar caliber stars hook up on the big screen again.
Meanwhile, ”Rugrats in Paris: The Movie” earned a solid B from EW.com voters (critics gave the rosy cheeked feature a glowing B+), and 43 percent said they’d like to see the movie again. ”Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” also earned a B from EW.com readers (slightly higher than the critics’ average of B-) but only 29 percent said they’d like to see Carrey make off with Whoville’s Christmas cheer a second time.
Schwarzenegger’s latest sci-fi thriller, ”The 6th Day,” trailed among voters. The bioengineering nightmare earned a mediocre grade of B- from EW.com readers, which was right on par with the critics’ average. Moreover, some 33 percent said they are very unlikely to relive their viewing of the clone flick. It’s possible they experienced Total Recall about already seeing Arnie in similar roles.