With ''Stir of Echoes'' at No. 3, spooky flicks dominate the box office

By Josh Wolk
Updated September 13, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
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The end of summer apparently wasn’t a scary enough experience for moviegoers: Creepy movies landed the top three spots at the box office. ”Stigmata” ended ”The Sixth Sense”’s five-week reign at the top, pulling in $18.3 million, even with mediocre-to-lousy reviews. ”Sense” was bumped down to second place, although it still scared up a respectable $16.5 million, and Kevin Bacon’s ghostly ”Stir of Echoes” debuted in third, with $5.8 million. ”Runaway Bride” ($3.8 million) and ”Bowfinger” ($3.6 million) wrapped up the top five, providing some comic relief from the dark side.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the box office chart, the French Stewart comedy ”Love Stinks” emphasized the latter half of its title, missing the Top 10 entirely with a $1.3 million take. In limited release, the Owen Wilson/Janeane Garofalo laconic-serial-killer drama ”The Minus Man” took in a respectable estimated $40,000 from five theaters, which made for a better per-screen average than ”Stigmata”’s, albeit in 2,894 fewer theaters. But who’s counting?

CRITICAL MASS Judging from EW readers’ voting in our online Critical Mass poll, ”Stigmata” may be King of Darkness right now, but it isn’t likely to have the reign of ”The Sixth Sense.” The Patricia Arquette-gets-possessed drama received only a B- grade, as opposed to ”Sense”’s long-standing A-. The key to ”Sense”’s success has been return business — 47 percent of readers said they’re very likely to see it again, but only 17 percent of ”Stigmata” customers say they’re very likely to come back for more wrist-bleeding.

”Stir of Echoes” has a slightly better chance of an extended haunt, with 30 percent saying they’re very likely to return. But even more encouraging is the 65 percent of voters who said they’d definitely recommend the movie to others, versus 50 percent who said the same about ”Stigmata.” To weigh in with your own opinions on these and all other current movies, visit EW Critical Mass.


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