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Harry Potter still No 1

June 14, 2004 15:01 IST

A still from Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of AzkabanThe third saga in the Harry Potter series, The Prisoner Of Azkaban, suffered a dramatic 63 percent fall in its second weekend at the North American box office. 

Unless the rate of attrition is arrested in the next few weeks, it may end up with just about $220 million in North America and become the lowest grosser of the three movies in the series.

The first grossed about $320 million, followed by $260 million for the second. But even with a $35 million gross, The Prisoner Of Azkaban (right, above) ruled the charts.

Shrek 2, which had taken a big fall last week, further dipped by 36 percent this weekend. But it grossed $354 million in four weeks, making it the highest grossing animated film so far. 

It beat Finding Nemo from DreamWorks' rival Disney by over $14 million. If there is no huge drop in the next four weeks, Shrek 2 may surpass the $400 million benchmark. 

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Macaulay (Home Alone) Culkin is in the news once again. Now 23, he stars in a small film Saved! which is on its way to become a cult hit. The film, made for just about $5 million, slams the hypocrisy in a Catholic establishment and asks for a more personal and reasonable way to look at sex and sexual orientation among the young.

After playing in limited release for two weeks, the film jumped from 31 screens to 598, and its gross rose from $380,000 to $2.2 million. It stands at the ninth position on the charts. Culkin plays a smaller role in the film as a wheelchair-bound young man disgusted at his sister's hypocrisy. But he has been noticed by reviews, unlike last year, when his bigger part in Party Monster went completely unnoticed.

'Culkin is dryly humorous,' The New York Post wrote. But it is a pity that he is overshadowed by some of his co-artists. 'The real scene stealer is the tart Eva Amurri (Susan's Sarandon's gorgeous daughter), who brings down the house,' the Post noted.

The film received mixed to negative reviews. Among the ecstatic reviewers was the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert. 'Saved! is an important film as well as an entertaining one,' he wrote.

But in The New York Times, A O Scott complained: '...The tone veers unsteadily from mockery to preachiness, and the story loses its breath, hopping from one clumsily paced scene to the next.'

A still from Stepford WivesIn a way, it was a remarkable weekend as all the three new releases --- The Chronicles Of Riddick, Stepford Wives (Mathew Broderick and Nicole Kidman, alongside) and Garfield: The Cat --- started off with decent numbers on Friday, with $24.6 million, $22 million and $20 million respectively. 
Even if they face a big fall in their second week, they will still recover the cost if they have a decent run abroad, and the DVD and video sales are brisk. But the films were poorly reviewed.

Among the three, Riddick got some of the worst reviews of the last six months. New York Post's Megan Lehmann called it 'riddickulous.' In The New York Times, Stephen Holden complained: 'In bodybuilding terms, this overmuscled sequel to Pitch Black is all bulk and no definition.' In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Bob Strauss wrote: '...Purely a movie for fans of elephantine production values and the dwindling number of Diesel (actor Vin Diesel) enthusiasts.'

And most critics weren't amused by the antics of the fat cat and its voice (Bill Murray) in Garfield. 'You are likely to leave this one feeling as grouchy and put-upon as the title character,' A O Scott complained in The New York Times. In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sean Axmaker wrote: '...There's never an engaging moment, let alone a creative one.'

Of the three films, the $50 million Garfield cost the least and will be profitable.

Riddick cost over $100 million, and Stepford Wives about $90 million.

Stepford Wives received some okay reviews, though The New York Times and Hollywood Reporter felt that the suspense and horror comedy was a waste of time. Among the film's grudging supporters was Roger Ebert. 'The 1975 movie tilted toward horror instead of comedy," he wrote. "Now here's a version that tilts the other way, and I like it a little better.'

Kirk Honeycutt wrote in Hollywood Reporter: 'This unimaginative remake gets more mileage out of design and costumes than actors.' The New York Post's Megan Lehmann called it 'a waste of talent.'

A O Scott wrote '...It does manage to fire off a handful of decent jokes and a few sneaky insights before losing its nerve and collapsing into incoherence.'

The box office this week:



Weekend gross


of weeks


Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban

$35 million (less 63% from the previous weekend)




The Chronicles Of Riddick

$24.6 million




Shrek 2

$24 million (less 36.6% from the previous weekend)




Stepford Wives

$22 million





$21.5 million




The Day After Tomorrow

$14 million (less 48% from the previous weekend)




Raising Helen

$3.8 million (less 42% from the previous weekend)





$3.45 million (less 46% from the previous weekend)





$2.2million (less 630% from the previous weekend)




Mean Girls

$1.5 (less 48% from the previous weekend)




Arthur J Pais