Ignoring the chorus of stinking reviews, young audiences turned up in significant numbers to make Darkness Falls the highest grosser of the weekend.
The movie earned an estimated $12.5 million. The numbers are far from spectacular. But the movie, which cost about $11 million, could be profitable in just about three weeks, which could make it a medium range success It revolves around Kyle Walsh (Chaney Kley), who returns home to confront his troubled past and save his sweetheart Caitlin (Emma Caulfield) and her younger brother Michael (Lee Cormie) from an unrelenting evil that has been haunting its victims over a century.
The worst reviews for the film came from The New York Times and New York Post. Jonathan Foreman called it a 'generic, incoherent horror film' in the Post. In The Times, Stephen Holden wrote the movie was 'about as scary as a ride on a minor roller coaster, it unrolls its amplified butcher-block shock effects within the first five minutes.'
The movie that shone brightest over the weekend was the Golden Globe Best Film (Musical, Comedy) winner, Miramax's Chicago, the poignant but rousing musical about two death row women and their sleazy lawyer. Expanding from 557 theatres to 616 -- with a 1,200 expansion slated for the Friday before February 11 Oscar nomination announcement -- the movie grossed about $8.5 million, with its total reaching $40million.
It jumped from the sixth to the third position. The gross for Chicago becomes even more significant when you remember that films such as Kangaroo Jack are each being shown in more than 2,500 theatres.
The other Miramax film, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, a dark spoof directed by actor George Clooney, enjoyed moderate success. The film, which jumped from 5 theatres to over 1,600, made a modest $6 million. Though the film, which features Julia Roberts with Clooney, was produced for $30 million -- half the budget of an average Hollywood movie -- it still has to go a long way to recover its investment.
It will have to make at least $70 million in ticket and video sales before it breaks even. Some Hollywood insiders believe that the movie, which also toplines Drew Barrymore, is too quirky for the mainstream but could have a huge success with its video and DVD versions.
Jack Nicholson's About Schmidt, which fetched him the best Golden Globe (drama category) continues to perform strongly. The slow moving but emotion-packed drama about a retired man who has to make a new life for himself and learn from his mistakes and tragedies, added about 300 theatres, bringing the total to 1,236 over the weekend.
The movie was made for $30 million, thanks to Nicholson working for a fraction of his hefty $15 million fee, and grossed $5.5 million over the weekend for a $38 million total.
The Hours, out of Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and dealing with three women in search of their own destinies, also added about 100 theaters, taking its total to 502. The movie, which won the Golden Globe for best movie (drama), grossed a promising $4 million, with its total reaching $14 million. Like Chicago, the Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore starring The Hours is expected to go for a big expansion in early February.
Last week's champ Kangaroo Jack is still at the second place. With about $11.8 million grossed over the weekend, the movie about two crooks who chase a kangaroo that has made away with their loot, has about $35 million in the bank.
Another low-budget hit, the romantic comedy Just Married fell one place to No 4 with $7.5 million in its third weekend. With its total rising to $44.3 million, the movie, starring Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy, is on its way to honeymoon for $60 million.
The also-ran comedy starring Martin Lawrence, National Security grabbed $7.4 million and its gross reached $23 million.