''Pokémon'' makes a record-breaking debut at the box office
Ben Affleck, Susan Sarandon, and Joan of Arc all fall to the power of the pocket monsters
Last month it was women calling the shots at the box office, making ”Double Jeopardy” a hit. But now it’s the kids’ turn, if you judge by the outstanding estimated $31 million take this weekend for ”Pokémon: The First Movie.” The animated feature has racked up a $50.8 million total since its debut last Wednesday, easily setting a five-day opening record for November and besting the $45.7 million gross for ”A Bug’s Life” last year. Warner Bros., which planned to release its already completed ”Pokémon” sequel next summer, may bump that opening up a bit while kids still have their parents’ wallets pried open.
Meanwhile, the rest of this weekend’s new films — aimed at an older crowd — performed pokily. ”Dogma” fared the best, opening in third place with a respectable $8.7 million (behind last week’s holdover, ”The Bone Collector,” which took in another handsome $12 million). The per-screen average for ”Dogma” was $6,832, second only to ”Pokémon”’s $10,199, so it’s likely that all the controversy about this religious comedy actually helped it. (Did the religious picketers learn nothing from the Brooklyn Museum protest?)
The other openers could have used a protest — ”The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc” debuted in fourth place with $6.4 million (and a lousy $2,963 per-screen average), while ”Anywhere but Here” landed in fifth with $5.6 million, and a slightly better $3,354 average. The biggest loser was ”Light It Up,” which took in only $2.4 million for 11th place, giving it a lame $3.1 million since its Wednesday opening. Good thing Burger King didn’t opt to give out ”Light It Up” trading cards.
Anywhere But Here