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The Passion continues its reign

By Arthur J Pais
March 09, 2004 11:41 IST
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Despite two high profile movies competing for the top spot, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ not only retained the box-office crown but also slid down from the previous week by just about 39 percent.

A still from The Passion of the ChristMost films that open to huge numbers lose about 50 per cent of its box-office clout in the second weekend. The Passion, which opened to a miraculous $84 million in its first weekend, took in $51.4 million in its second and its gross reached $212 million in just 12 days. Those who thought it would be a one-week miracle must have been surprised by its staying power but those who were checking in the box-office returns throughout the week surely knew The Passion had unwavering support. Gibson's film grossed more than the take of the next two films combined.

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson's action comedy Starsky & Hutch debuted at No 2 with a pleasing $29.05 million, while Hidalgo, Viggo Mortensen's horse-racing adventure, whose authenticity has been questioned by many opened at No 3 with a decent $19.6 million, according to studio estimates issued on Sunday.

The former is an update of the 1970s television show, stars Stiller and Wilson as police officer friends hunting a cocaine dealer while Hidalgo stars Mortensen as an Old West cowboy who becomes the first Westerner invited to compete in a horse race across the Arabian desert in the 19th century. The film is reportedly based on a real life story but many horsing experts have doubted the claim. 

Fourth week of its release, the feel-good comedy 50 First Dates reached $99 million and looks like it could earn $20 more millions before heading for video stores.

A still from The Lord of the Rings: Return of the KingThe 11 Oscar-winner The Return of the King bounced back into the top 10 by increasing its gross by over 45 percent.

Monster, which fetched the best actress Oscar to Charlize Theron jumped by 11 percent and its cume reached $31 million. Following the
Oscar nod, the movie acquired over 120 additional screens, taking the total count to about 1100. Though it is a grim and depressing film, it has found a loyal following in big cities, and has already become profitable. It could be a bigger success on video and DVD. The film is released by Newmarket Films, a boutique distributor, which has hit gold with The Passion.

Though Clint Eastwood's Mystic River was at the 11th position on the chart, it too gained from the two acting Oscars it won (for Sean Penn and Tim Robbins). It grossed about $2 million and its cume reached $89 million. There was hardly any percentage change from the previous week. 

Jay Chandrasekhar's third feature film Broken Lizard's Club Dread had a fatal fall in the second week. The comic movie, which had opened with lukewarm numbers ($3 million), lost nearly 70 percent of the audiences. Unless it has an excellent shelf life in video stores, the film made for about $15 million, will be a loser, unlike Chandrasekhar's previous work Super Troopers which cost half as much as the new film and grossed nearly $20 million.

The box office this week:

Rank

Film

Weekend gross

Total
gross

Number
of weeks

1

The Passion Of The Christ

$51.4 million (less 39% from the previous weekend)

$212m

2

2

Starsky & Hutch

$29 million

$29m

3 days

3

Hidalgo

$19.6 million

$19.6m

3 days

4

50 First Dates

$7.7million (less 39% from the previous weekend) 

$99m

4

5

Twisted

$5million (less 43% from the previous weekend) 

$16m

2

6

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen

$4 million (less 36% from the previous weekend)  

$21.8m

2

7

Return of the King

$3.2 million (plus 45% from the previous weekend)

$368

12

8

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights

$2.8 million (less 50% from the previous weekend)

$10m

2

9

Miracle

$2.6 million (less 40% from the previous weekend)

$59.5m

5

10

Monster

$2.2 million (plus 11% from the previous weekend)

$31m

11

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Arthur J Pais