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Kate Hudson silences critics

February 10, 2003 14:30 IST

Kate Hudson, whose last movie The Four Feathers was a critical and box-office bomb, got her Valentine's Day wish with How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days which laughed at mediocre reviews to claim the top box-office post with an estimated $24 million gross.

Paramount Pictures, with only one hit Jackass: The Movie in about eight months, should be pleased with this medium budget movie's success.

The Paramount hit relegated the critically acclaimed laugh fest Shanghai Knights, starring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson to second place with $19.7 million. Oscar nomination hopeful Chicago expanded its reach to 1,200 theatres and took its count to nearly 1,840 theatres. With a $10 million weekend gross, it earned a handsome $63 million and is on its way to $100 million.

Though she starred in the critically acclaimed Almost Famous, for which she received an Oscar nomination two years ago, Hudson has had never had a hit, let alone a movie that opened at the top, in her five-year career. If Hudson had pulled off the Oscar, it would have been the first time a mother and daughter duo won the Oscars. Her mother Goldie Hawn won an Oscar for the 1969 comedy Cactus Flower.

Despite the Oscar loss and the quick exit of The Four Feathers, Hollywood insiders were left in no doubt about Hudson's talent.

With the big opening of her latest film which could earn a fine $75 million to $80 million in North America alone, Hudson could now be counted as among the top 10 leading actresses. She could easily get $10 million for her next movie. The new hit also gives costar Matthew McConaughey a second hit following The Wedding Planner over two years ago.

Donald Petrie, whose hits include the Sandra Bullock comedy Miss Congeniality and the Walter Matthau-Jack Lemmon laugh riot Grumpy Old Men tells this time a story of a dashing man (McConaughey) who bets his friends he can stay in a relationship for more than 10 days. But the girl (Hudson) he picks just tries to get rid of him almost immediately.

Hudson expected the movie to be a hit. She had spoken enthusiastically about it during press interviews for The Four Feathers and said she had a wonderful time working in it.

Most critics were dismissive of the film. They felt it was too forced and wasn't vivacious enough. 'Ridiculous almost beyond belief,' wrote Michael Wilmington in Entertainment Weekly. He felt it was 'made out of two connect-the-dots drawings laid haphazardly on top of one another.' In the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan slammed the film: 'A too-long title is just the first problem for this too-long, misguided, so-called romantic comedy.'

People magazine felt the movie 'never recovers from its unlikely (and beyond dumb) setup.'

But audiences at previews clearly enjoyed the film. Paramount Pictures got the sense early on they had a solid hit on their hands.

Last week's champion The Recruiter lost about 40 per cent of box-office clout. With a $9.5 million gross over the weekend and a $30 million total, the Al Pacino-Colin Farrell espionage drama is on its way to be a medium range success, earning about $50 million. The low budget horror movie, Final Destination 2, lost about 50 percent of its box-office, but with a $8 million gross, and $28 million in all, it is still headed for a profitable run, earning as much as The Recruiter.

Breaking into profit or even the break-even bracket could be a big problem for Biker Boyz, which came down by about 60 per cent from last week, riding to a meagre $4 million, with a mere $16 million in the bank.

Arthur J Pais