The kid-targeted comic adventure debuts with an estimated $27 million -- and a sequel's on the way

By Lori Reese
Updated April 03, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Apparently grown-ups have been bossing around the box office a little too long. The tyke friendly comedy adventure ”Spy Kids” soared to the top of the movie chart this weekend, with an estimated $27 million in ticket sales. Though most analysts had expected the espionage in the family flick to take the No. 1 spot, predictions ranged from $15 million to $20 million. The film, in which Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino play married with children spies, did even better. The movie’s distributor, Miramax/Dimension, was prepared: A sequel is already in the works. ”We haven’t really had a family feature around since ‘The Grinch,”’ Robert Bucksbaum of box office tracking firm Reel Source told ”Every market needs its own film, even the kids’,” agreed Dan Marks of ACNielsen.

Most of the remaining top five films, meanwhile, were aimed largely at another specific demographic: women. The Ashley Judd/ Hugh Jackman romance ”Someone Like You” (adapted from the best-selling novel ”Animal Husbandry”) opened in second place, with $10.3 million. Last week’s No. 1 flick, the con artist caper ”Heartbreakers” ($8.2 million) tumbled two spots to No. 3. This week’s third big newcomer, the spring break flick ”Tomcats” ($6.5 million) nailed fourth place, while the guys and relationships drama ”The Brothers” ($5.8) slid three spots to No. 5.

CRITICAL MASS readers were happy to see a savvy family flick back in theaters. Overall readers graded ”Spy Kids” a B; right on target with the critics’ average of B. Moreover, it looks like the film will benefit from positive word of mouth. A significant 80 percent said they thought the PG rated thrill ride was better than expected. Likewise, 40 percent said they would be keen to see Banderas and kin in action again, and an equal number indicated that they would gladly recommend the experience to friends.

”Someone Like You” was more successful with readers than with critics. Overall, voters awarded the film a B-, while the scribes graded the adaptation a lowly D+. However, nearly half of readers indicated that they were unlikely to recommend the chick flick to friends. The raunchy fun in the sun romp ”Tomcats” earned a mediocre grade of C+ from readers. (Critics have yet to weigh in.) Ironically, the under 29 crowd brought the college-kid-aimed feature’s average down with a dismal D+. Those over 40 gave the film a B. Look what happens when tastes mature.


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  • Gregory Poirier