The F/X heavy sequel passes the $100 million mark in just 10 days

By Lori Reese
Updated May 15, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
  • Movie

”The Mummy Returns” kept its gauzy grip on the No. 1 spot at the box office for a second week in a row, scoring an estimated $32.2 million take. As industry watchers expected, the sequel to 1999’s ”The Mummy” lost more than half of its audience after debuting with a record shattering $68.1 million. ”’The Mummy Returns’ is the first big event movie of the summer, so by law you sort of have to go in the first week,” Gitesh Pandya of tells Mummy “has grossed $116.5 million in just 10 days, becoming the second movie this year to surpass the century mark. Robert Bucksbaum of box office tracking firm Reel Source credits the action adventure movie’s success to audience anticipation and the studio’s savvy marketing. ”Universal didn’t overhype it, didn’t make people sick of it, and it had the best trailer we’ve seen in a year in terms of special effects,” he says. ”People wanted to go have mindless fun for two hours and that’s what the film brought to the table.”

This weekend’s newcomer, ”A Knight’s Tale,” galloped into the No. 2 spot with a strong $17 million. Analysts say the jousting adventure’s hunky star Heath Ledger made the film especially popular among young women. But audiences of all types will have to embrace the genre bending adventure movie (which mixes knight life, ’70s arena rock, and Geoffrey Chaucer) if it’s going to stay alive against next week’s big release, the much buzzed about animated feature ”Shrek.” ”Stars are only good for the first weekend,” says Bucksbaum. ”After that it’s all up to word of mouth.”

The rest of this week’s top five were left in the dust. ”Bridget Jones’s Diary” (No. 3) earned just $4.5 million, while Sly Stallone’s racetrack flick ”Driven” idled in fourth place with $3 million. The kidnapping thriller ”Along Came a Spider” lured just under $3 million from moviegoers for fifth place. Meanwhile, the No. 6 film, the family oriented ”Spy Kids,” earned another $2.5 million, to become this year’s third movie to edge past $100 million — along with ”Hannibal” and ”Mummy.”

CRITICAL MASS What’s ”Mummy” got that other sequels don’t? According to’s readers’ poll the movie delivers even more big summer fun than viewers anticipated. Overall voters scored the Rock and Co. a healthy B+, much higher than the critics’ average of C-. But more importantly, 61 percent said that the sand filled sequel was better than they had expected. While one third of voters said that they were initially drawn to the film by its flashy trailer, nearly half indicated that they are also very likely to see the movie again on its own merits.

”Knight” was similarly victorious among readers. Voters graded the 14th century jousting tale a B, surpassing the critics’ mediocre mark of C+. Nearly one third of voters said that they saw the film for its 22 year old star, Ledger, and an ample 71 percent indicated the Aussie actor’s first turn as a leading man was better than they had expected. A healthy 62 percent also indicated that they would recommend the movie to friends. Clearly it was high time for a Chaucer comeback.

A Knight's Tale

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 132 minutes
  • Brian Helgeland