''Bridget Jones'' does v.v. well at box office
Tom Green and Paul Hogan get slammed by critics and trounced by the still strong ''Spy Kids''
”Bridget Jones’s Diary” topped the box office this weekend with an estimated $10.5 million take, ending ”Spy Kids”’ three week reign atop the movie chart. The Helen Fielding adaptation landed in the No. 3 spot after its April 13 debut in just over 1,600 theaters. Packed houses and positive reviews for Renée Zellweger’s portrayal of the movie’s endearingly dysfunctional title character prompted the film’s distributor, Miramax, to expand to more than 2,200 screens this weekend. Bloody good idea: The otherwise all Brit pic — which also stars Hugh Grant and Colin Firth (of A&E’s ”Pride and Prejudice”) — has grossed about $25.7 million in just 10 days, cashing in on its appeal to thirtysomething females. ”Single working women are often neglected as a market,” Robert Bucksbaum of box office tracking firm Reel Source told EW.com. ”This film is for them.”
Last week’s champ, ”Spy Kids” (No. 2), wasn’t far behind, earning about $10.2 million. The lively espionage comedy has earned $86 million since opening in March. The kidnap thriller ”Along Came a Spider” slid one place to No. 3 with $9.1 million. Meanwhile, this weekend’s two critically flayed newcomers, the Paul Hogan sequel ”Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles” (No. 4; $8 million) and the Tom Green gross out fest ”Freddy Got Fingered” (No. 5; $7.3 million) rounded out the top five. Analysts had low expectations for both, though some had predicted that Green’s following among the MTV set would give ”Freddy” the edge over ”Dundee.” Green’s primary audience of teens — by rights too young to see his raunchy R rated comedy without a parent or guardian — may have stayed home to watch reruns of reruns of ”Jackass.”
Critical Mass How did ”Bridget” succeed where other chick flicks failed? According to EW.com’s readers’ poll, the femme-centric romance has healthy crossover appeal. Overall, readers awarded the film a B+, slightly higher than the critics’ average of B. More importantly, men — who gave the film a B+ — enjoyed the movie almost as much as women, who awarded the literary adaptation an A-. A significant 83 percent of voters indicated that they will definitely recommend the lovelorn Londoner to friends.
Not surprisingly, the buzz is not as good for this week’s newcomers. ”Freddy” earned a C+ from EW.com readers — a veritable ovation compared with the critics’ average of F. And nearly 40 percent said that they would not recommend the vision of Green in his deer skin outfits to friends. Readers graded ”Dundee” a C+, a little better than the critics’ average of C. However, NONE of EW.com’s readers indicated that they would recommend the Hogan resurrection to friends. Ouch! That’s got to hurt even more than a crocodile bite.