''Stuart Little'' dominates the box office
But Robin Williams and Jodie Foster can't rally much enthusiasm with their new films
The lesson learned from this weekend at the box office? That people aren’t as scared of mice as they used to be. With a lovable rodent as a star, ”Stuart Little” triumphed with an estimated $15.4 million debut (thanks to kids out of school), and ”The Green Mile” — which features a jail-bound mouse as a supporting actor — squeaked in at number two with $12.6 million (for a total of $36.5 million).
Other new releases weren’t nearly the Big Cheese that ”Stuart Little” was. ”Bicentennial Man” only rallied to fourth place (tied with ”Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo”) with $8.3 million, behind ”Toy Story 2,” which took in $12.1 million (total so far: $156.3 million). Williams may have pushed his goofy-yet-dewy-eyed persona too far with this one, considering ”Bicentennial Man” is his second-lowest debut since 1992’s ”Toys.” (”Jakob the Liar” opened with only $2.1 million in September.)
Then there was ”Anna and the King,” which bowed in only sixth place with $5.1 million, perhaps hampered by mediocre reviews, a story line people had seen before, no buzz, etcetera, etcetera. Meanwhile, a handful of Oscar contenders continues to simmer powerfully in limited release before going wide in January. With a three-hour-plus running time that would make James Cameron call for cuts, ”Magnolia” (which goes wide on Jan. 7) took in $184,000 on seven screens — a $26,286 average. And Mike Leigh’s ”Topsy-Turvy” — just named Best Picture by the New York Film Critics Circle — opened with $29,891 on two screens, and will expand on Jan. 14.