''Mr. Deeds'' goes to No. 1 -- After the disastrous ''Little Nicky,'' Adam Sandler is back on top with his new comedy
Adam Sandler, Winona Ryder, ...
Credit: Mr. Deeds: Sony Pictures

Adam Sandler, you’ve been pardoned.

After tanking with his last comedy, ”Little Nicky,” which not only scarred his career but was also blamed for ruining AOL Time Warner’s 1999 fourth quarter, the actor regained some footing this weekend with ”Mr. Deeds.” The remake of ”Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” premiered with $37.6 million, according to studio estimates.

”Deeds”’ take more than doubled ”Nicky”’s measly $16 million opening-weekend figure. But it didn’t match Sandler’s two best openings to date: ”Big Daddy,” which grossed $41.5 million in 1998, and ”The Waterboy,” which debuted with $39.4 million in 1997. ”Deeds,” which also stars Winona Ryder (though her current legal woes prohibited her from doing much press for the film), was certainly hurt a bit by its poor reviews. But Sandler’s core fan base doesn’t consist of moviegoers who care what the critics think.

As expected, the Disney comedy ”Lilo & Stitch” managed to hold on to No. 2, bringing in another $22.2 million for a 10-day total of $77.8 million. Meanwhile, “Minority Report,” which barely eked out a victory over ”Lilo” last weekend, slipped to No. 3 with $21.6 million. Its total stands at $73.5 million. Historically, family films see smaller declines than action flicks.

Rounding out the top five were ”Scooby-Doo,” which earned another $12.2 million in its third weekend, and ”The Bourne Identity,” holding on nicely with $10.8 million. Surprisingly, the week’s other new wide release, ”Hey Arnold! The Movie,” opened outside the top five with only $6 million. But as we said last week, Arnold is no Rugrat.

Lilo & Stitch
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