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Identity is No 1 in the US

April 28, 2003 13:05 IST
 Defying low expectations, Sony's suspense thriller Identity established itself as the top film in North America, beating favoured hit Anger Management by an estimated $1 million. A still from Identity

Ridiculed by some critics who found its script unconvincing, and hailed by others as an engaging thriller, the John Cusack-Ray Liotta starrer grossed about $17 million in three days. Anger Management made about $16 million.

Losing about 35 per cent of its box office clout but still playing cool, Anger Management grossed $104 million. Expect it to gross at least $150 million before heading to the video stores.

Identity, directed by James Mangold (Copland), is about 10 strangers stranded in a remote motel amidst a storm. Then the killings begin. As the murders increase, the survivors have to figure out the killer.

Calling the movie a cerebral whodunit, the New York Post's Megan Lehmann noted, 'Dropping tiny clues like a trail of breadcrumbs, Identity builds steadily from its smarter-than-your-average-horror-film beginnings to a genuinely cunning psychological thriller, with a third-act twist guaranteed to shock even the most eagle-eyed watchers.' But influential trade publication Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt declared the movie had ' of the most ludicrous screenplays in recent memory.'

Another new movie Confidence, a mob suspense adventure starring Ed Burns and Dustin Hoffman, failed to live up to its title, grossing only $4.8 million.

Kenneth Turan wrote in The Los Angeles Times that Confidence has a large and capable cast and, in James Foley, 'a director with a taste for visual flourishes.' Foley and his cast, he added, especially Hoffman, who backed the film from the start, 'fell in love with the script by Doug Jung and did not notice how much a derivative retread it is of superior material like The Grifters and even The Sting.'

Meanwhile, comedy adventure Bulletproof Monk
has proved to be far from invincible. It grossed about $19 million in two weeks. In its second weekend, it tumbled by a disturbing 45 per cent and grossed only $4.5 million.

 Despite experiencing a 20 per cent decline, family-oriented Disney movie Holes has securely dug itself in for the long haul. With its $13 million weekend gross, its total has reached $36 million.

At third position on the BO chart, Holes, based on an internationally acclaimed novel by Louis Sachar, has sufficient appeal for older moviegoers. It tells the story of a teenager Stanley Yelnats (La Beouf) who is sent to a Texas detention camp for a crime he did not commit. There, he and the other boys are forced by the warden (Sigourney Weaver) to dig holes as something of a 'character-building experience.' Each day, each boy must dig a hole five feet deep and wide, in the dry rock that was once the bottom of a lake.

The film is directed by Andrew Davis, best remembered for his 1993 smash hit, The Fugitive, starring Harri
son Ford. Hollywood observers believe Holes, which cost about $50 million, may become one of the most profitable films of the year. Among its assets are solid performances and a gripping narration.A still from Holes

The low budget fun movie, Malibu's Most Wanted, is one of the many medium and comparatively inexpensive films that have proved hits in recent months. Though it lost about 38 per cent of the box-office from the previous weekend, the $15 million film has already grossed $24 million and should soon be profitable.

Other low budget films faring well include What A Girl Wants, which has already grossed $33 million and is on its way to a $40 million total, and Phone Booth. This urban thriller has already grossed $40 million and is expected to make at least $10 million in coming weeks.


Arthur J Pais