Zoinks! ''Scooby'' rolls in at number one. Despite mixed reviews ''Doo'' earns the top spot at the box office, says Dave Karger

By Dave Karger
June 17, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
Scooby-Doo: Warner Bros.

How many Scooby Snacks can you buy for $56.4 million?

Well, Fred, Daphne, Shaggy, and Velma will soon find that out, because the live-action version of ”Scooby-Doo” grossed that much in its opening weekend, according to studio estimates. While the figure isn’t of ”Star Wars” or ”Spider-Man” proportions (those two premiered with twice as much), it easily ranks as the third-best opening of the year. Though ”Scooby” earned mixed reviews, families obviously flocked to the film, which stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze, Jr., for some kid-friendly escapist fun. Word of mouth in the following weeks will dictate whether ”Scooby” can top this year’s family hit ”Ice Age,” which has grossed around $175 million to date.

Second place went to another strong opening, Matt Damon’s ”The Bourne Identity,” which earned an impressive $27.5 million, helped by mostly glowing critical response. The spy thriller, based on the Robert Ludlum novel, almost equaled the debut of last month’s ”The Sum of All Fears,” the spy flick starring Damon’s buddy Ben Affleck that opened with $31.2 million, albeit in a less crowded weekend. The bottom line: ”Bourne”’s performance affirms Damon’s heretofore questionable box office drawing power.

The week’s final new wide release, ”Windtalkers,” opened with only a so-so $14.5 million. The World War II drama starring Nicolas Cage and Christian Slater was apparently hurt by its audience-limiting R rating and its delayed release date. After the poor performance of ”Collateral Damage,” ”Big Trouble,” and ”Bad Company,” it seems that any movie that was pushed back for any reason after September 11 has been jinxed.

Last week’s top two films rounded out the top five. ”The Sum of All Fears” continued its successful run, slipping only 30 percent to $13.5 million, bringing its total to $84.5 million, while ”Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” fell a higher-than-expected 40 percent to $9.8 million. Looks like the female audience ditched the ”Ya-Ya” girls for Matt Damon.