''Heartbreakers'' tops the box office
Not everyone’s eyes were on Oscar, college basketball, and world championship figure skating this weekend: ”Heartbreakers,” the con artist caper starring Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sigourney Weaver, zipped to the top of the box office with an estimated $12.3 million debut. Although analysts expected Academy Award nominees like ”Traffic,” ”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and ”Chocolat,” to do well going into the Oscar home stretch, few were surprised to see ”Heartbreakers” come out ahead of last week’s No. 1 movie, ”Exit Wounds,” starring Steven Seagal and rapper DMX. ”’Heartbreakers’ is a physical comedy, which is hot these days,” Robert Bucksbaum of box office tracking firm Reel Source told EW.com, citing the success of last fall’s ”Meet the Parents.” ”It’ll do solid business.”
Another rookie, ”The Brothers,” bowed at No. 2 with about $10.7 million. Written and directed by newcomer Gary Hardwick, it’s a comic look at four late twentysomething pals taking stock of their romantic histories. (Finally! Someone blows the lid off what guys were doing while women were all reading ”Waiting to Exhale” and ”Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.”) ”A bunch of guys playing basketball and talking about relationships?” said Bucksbaum. ”That would never happen. But it’s a good movie for women.” ”Exit Wounds” ($9.2 million) and the World War II drama ”Enemy at the Gates” ($8.4 million) slid to third and fourth place, respectively. Best Picture nominee ”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (No. 5, $4.7 million) leaped back into the top five. Meanwhile, this week’s third major newcomer ”Say It Isn’t So,” debuted dismally in 10th place with $3.1 million.
”Heartbreakers” may not have stolen too many critics’ hearts, but it has fared well with EW.com’s discerning voters. The raucous comedy earned an average grade of B — far better than the critics’ overall score of C. A sizable 60 percent say they were drawn to the film because of its stars, and half say they thought the Hewitt/ Weaver pairing turned out better than they had expected. Moreover, a significant 80 percent of readers said they would recommend the mother/ daughter con artists to friends.
”Enemy at the Gates” and ‘”Exit Wounds” could show some staying power as well. ”Enemy” has earned a B+ from voters (The critics gave the film a C+), with 55 percent saying the movie was better than expected and 62 percent saying that they would recommend the Stalingrad-set movie to friends. Likewise, ”Exit Wounds” has earned an average grade of B from readers. An overwhelming 70 percent said the DMX/ Seagal pairing was better than expected, and 61 percent indicated that they would recommend the film to friends. With Seagal’s penchant for sequels, can ”Exit Wounds 2” be far off?