Stallone's ''Driven'' to No. 1
''Bridget Jones'' is bumped to second, while Beatty's long delayed comedy flops
”Driven,” a racetrack actioner piloted by star/ writer Sylvester Stallone and director Renny Harlin, sped to a box office win this weekend, debuting with $13.1 million, according to studio estimates. Despite unenthusiastic reviews, the testosterone fueled drama sideswiped last weekend’s champ, the female targeted romantic comedy ”Bridget Jones’s Diary” (No. 2; $7.5 million). The Warner Bros. distributed ”Driven” represents a comeback for Stallone, whose last hit was 1993’s ”Cliffhanger,” in which he teamed with… Harlin. ”It’s nice to see [Stallone] back on top,” Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. head of distribution, told the AP.
Returning movies clung to the remainder of the top five slots: ”Spy Kids” (No. 3; $5.7 million), the family adventure that should soon hit the $100 million mark, finished just ahead of the kidnap thriller ”Along Came a Spider” (No. 4; $5.65), and the Paul Hogan sequel ”Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles” (No. 5; $4.7 million).
Three other new releases, meanwhile, failed to connect with moviegoers. Warren Beatty’s long delayed ”Town and Country,” (No. 7; $3.1 million) opened in nearly as many theaters as ”Driven” but averaged only $1,373 per screen — a meagre debut considering the movie’s reported $90 million budget. The debuts of ”The Forsaken,” a youth targeted vampire thriller (No. 8; $3 million), and the black comedy ”One Night at McCool’s” (No. 12; $2 million), had sexy ad campaigns but no critical support.
CRITICAL MASS ”Driven”’s engine may be roaring now, but EW.com’s readers poll indicates that it could soon stall. Voters agreed with EW’s critic’s assessment, awarding the racetrack drama a middling C+. (Younger crowds favored the movie, rating it an A, while older, more educated respondents gave it a D). As to whether they’d recommend ”Driven” to friends, voters were split down the middle: half said yes, half said no way. Though ”Forsaken” didn’t take a big bite at the box office, it certainly found an online following: EW.com voters, 89 percent of whom said the vampire flick was better than they expected, rated it a solid A. A sanguine 72 percent said they’re likely to return for another showing — which either means that ”Forsaken’ is the sleeper hit of the week — or that there’s a huge fan base primed for the arrival of NEXT week’s undead villain: ”The Mummy Returns.”