Hollywood lesson of the day: It’s easy to stay No. 1 when your competition is weak.
That’s what Ben Affleck learned this weekend, as Chris Rock’s highly touted new action comedy, ”Bad Company,” performed well under expectations and allowed Affleck’s ”The Sum of All Fears” to maintain its perch atop the box office chart.
”Sum,” based on the Tom Clancy novel of the same name, grossed an estimated $18.7 million in its second weekend, down 40 percent from its $31.2 million opening last week. Its 10-day total now stands at $62 million, on its way to cracking $100 million before its run is over.
Second place, in a surprise, went to the multigenerational chick flick ”Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” which debuted with an impressive $16.4 million, seriously challenging ”Sum” for the top slot. The family comedy, starring Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, and Ellen Burstyn, obviously benefited from its being the only film in the last few weeks to attract a largely female audience.
In its fourth week, ”Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones” earned another $13.9 million, bringing its total to $255 million, still nowhere near that of ”Spider-Man,” which now stands at $370 million after bringing in $10 million, good enough for fifth place.
But the big loser of the weekend has to be the No. 4 finisher, ”Bad Company,” which managed only $10.4 million in its first three days, much less than Chris Rock’s last opening, ”Down to Earth,” which netted $17.3 million. ”Company,” starring Rock and Anthony Hopkins, must have turned off audiences with its vague ad campaign and its domestic-terrorism subplot. Previous post-9/11 terrorism flicks like ”Collateral Damage” and ”Big Trouble” also underperformed when they were released. Message to Hollywood studios: Don’t just delay these movies; throw ’em away.
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