The espionage in the family comedy outmaneuvers ''Along Came a Spider'' and ''Blow''

By Lori Reese
April 10, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Spy Kids: Rico Torres

The grade school set ruled the box office for a second weekend in a row as ”Spy Kids” remained in the top spot with a $17.8 million take. The comedy adventure — which has earned $49 million in just 10 days — is cashing in on its broad appeal, according to analysts. The movie includes physical gags that please both younger and older kids, as well as more sophisticated jokes for their parents. ”It’s a family film that reaches a lot of different age groups,” Robert Bucksbaum of box office tracking firm Reel Source tells

”Kids” outdid tough competition from three newcomers this weekend. ”Along Came a Spider,” the much anticipated prequel to the 1997 hit ”Kiss the Girls,” debuted in second place with $17.1 million. The Johnny Depp/ Penélope Cruz drug saga ”Blow” premiered at No. 3 with $12.5 million, while the animated ”Pokémon 3” opened with $9.2 million. The Ashley Judd/ Hugh Jackman romance ”Someone Like You” rounded out the top five with $5.5 million.

CRITICAL MASS What gives ”Spy Kids” staying power? The family film surpasses moviegoers’ expectations, according to’s readers poll. Overall, voters grade the film a solid B — right on par with the critics average of B. And a healthy 58 percent of readers say that the adventure is far better than they thought it would be. Likewise, many are sharing their opinion with others: More than half say they will recommend the movie to friends.

By contrast, one third of voters say that ”Along Came a Spider” is a disappointment. Readers allot the Freeman/ Potter combo a B-, slightly lower than the critics’ average of B. Meanwhile, many think the fact based cocaine tale ”Blow” is a pleasant surprise. The 1970s set drama averages a B from readers (critics also give the film a B), and more than half say the Depp/ Cruz movie is far better than they expected. Guess that’s what happens when you cast the two best looking actors in the world.