Nic Cage's car-theft caper ends ''Mission'''s two-week reign at No. 1

Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, ...
Credit: Linda R. Chen

”Gone in 60 Seconds” pulled in a solid $25.5 million this weekend, bumping ”Mission: Impossible 2” ($17.1 million) into second place. Though slammed by critics (the Wall Street Journal didn’t even bother to review it), the car-theft flick marked Nicolas Cage’s best opening yet, beating his other Jerry Bruckheimer productions ”Con Air” ($24.5 million) and ”The Rock” ($25.1 million). ”Gone” may have outpaced the Tom Cruise spy thriller, which has grossed $157.9 million in just 19 days, but it isn’t likely to stay parked in the No. 1 spot for long. This Friday’s opening of Samuel L. Jackson’s ”Shaft” remake is likely to chase the badass-crook saga from the top.

Familiar titles dominated the rest of the top 5 this weekend. Last week’s No. 2, the Martin Lawrence comedy ”Big Momma’s House,” fell one spot to No. 3, with a respectable $16.8 million take, bringing its 10-day total to $52 million. Disney’s ”Dinosaur” (No. 4) grossed $8.8 million, pushing its 24-day total to an earth shaking $110.5 million. DreamWorks’ ”Gladiator” (No. 5) withstood the competition for yet another week, earning $7.1 million to bring its 38-day total to a colossal $150.2 million.

CRITICAL MASS ”Gone in 60 Seconds” topped the box office, but its performance on the grading curve was decidedly mediocre. EW Online’s voters gave the movie a tepid B-, but that was a lot better than the critics’ average of D. Unlike ”Big Momma’s House,” which earned an A+ among Southerners, ”Gone”’s highest regional grade of B+ came from the Midwest, the land of sprawling parking lots. Southerners, on the other hand, flunked the car-theft flick outright.

”Gone” isn’t long for the top 5 if EW Online’s readers have anything to say about it. Summer blockbusters rely heavily on return visitors for survival, and only 15 percent said they were likely to see Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie drive off with the prize a second time, while 40 percent said they definitely would not. Compare that to one of this summer’s most enduring top fivers — ”Gladiator”: A full 54 percent of viewers said they were very likely to see that fight flick again, while only 12 percent had no desire to face Russell Crowe in the ring a second time. Maximus, indeed!

Mission: Impossible 2

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 125 minutes
  • John Woo