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Robert De Niro rules box office!

January 31, 2005 18:35 IST

Hide And SeekAudiences came out admiring Hide And Seek over the weekend, making it the top film of the week with a decent $22 million gross. While the critics weren't hiding their displeasure at the film, fans gave Robert De Niro a career first: two hit movies among the top five films on the chart!

Meet The Fockers, the comedy De Niro also co-produced, was the fifth highest-grossing film of the weekend, with its total reaching $257 million in six weeks.

His newest film, which, at $30 million, cost less than half of Fockers, could end with a medium-range $60 million gross in North America. The 60-plus actor plays a psychologist who takes his daughter (Dakota Fanning) to a small town so that she can overcome the trauma of her mother's suicide. But the young girl suddenly announces she has a new friend called Charlie, and the 'imaginary' friend is soon creating havoc in the lives of the father and daughter.

The Oscar nominations last week gave some boost to a few films that were on their way out: Vera Drake (three nominations, best actress, Imelda Staunton; Mike Leigh, director and screenplay) and Being Julia (Annette Bening, best actress)

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Many Oscar nominees outside the top 10 gained over the weekend. Best film nominee Ray, which received five other nominations, including one for actor Jamie Foxx and director Taylor Hackford, will be out on DVD on February 1. The movie, which will be in the theatres for a couple of weeks, has earned about $580,000 over the weekend, doubling its previous week's gross.

Ray is the highest grossing so far of the Oscar nominated films, with $73.8 million. The movie, which was in the making for 15 years and was finally made as an independent film, is likely to see its Oscar boost help its DVD and video rentals.

The Clint Eastwood saga set against the world of a female boxer, the seven-Oscar nominee Million Dollar Baby, shot to third position. It followed the comedy Are We There Yet? which came down by about 8 percent, taking its cumulative total to $39 million.

The Samuel L Jackson hit Coach Carter had another bountiful week, taking in $8 million and pushing its total to an impressive $53 million in three weeks.

The top grossing films of the week each cost about $30 million -- small budgets compared to the likes of The Aviator that cost an estimated $110 million. Meet The Fockers, the fifth film on the chart, cost about $80 million.

Million Dollar BabyIn its first week on the top 10 list, Million Dollar Baby grossed $11.8 million from 2,010 theatres, 1,863 of those new engagements. Given the big expansion, its gross rose by about 1800 percent!

The Clint Eastwood pic -- nominated for Oscars for best picture, director, actor (Eastwood), actress (Hillary Swank) and supporting actor (Morgan Freeman), best adapted screenplay (Paul Haggis) and best editing (Joel Cox) -- has raised a total of $21.1 million.

On Saturday, Eastwood was declared filmmaker of the year by the Directors Guild of America. Insiders believe the honour enhances Eastwood's prospects to win his second Oscar as director, following the Guild prize for 1992's Unforgiven which went on to bag that year's Best Picture Oscar.

At least for now, Eastwood's triumph has dampened Martin Scorsese's chances of winning for The Aviator. Though Scorsese earned his sixth Guild nomination for best director, he has lost on previous occasions.

At sixth spot, The Aviator with its 11 nominations including best picture, director (Scorsese), actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), supporting actors (Alan Alda and Cate Blanchett), saw a 55 percent bump since last week. Following the nominations, it added 242 theatres, taking its total count to 2,503. Even without getting an Oscar, the Scorsese film could end up with a comfortable $90 million in North America. Abroad too, it is headed for a $100 million gross. When the DVD and video sales are counted after about six months, the film should have a decent profit.

Right behind it was the medium range hit and a nominee in five categories, Sideways. The movie added nearly 1,000 new venues to a total of 1,694, and saw weekend results of $6.3 million. It was the first time in its 15-week run that Sideways found a place among the top 10. The 120 percent increase over the previous frame took the film to a $40 million gross. Most of the film's admirers were surprised actor Paul Giamatti wasn't nominated, but they certainly must have been gratified with the other nominations including best director (Payne Alexander) and adapted screenplay (Payne and Jim Taylor).

Some of the Oscar nomination beneficiaries were not among the top 10 films but they nevertheless made impressive gains.

Hotel RwandaThe J M Barrie tale, Finding Neverland, which earned seven nominations including best picture and best actor (Johnny Depp), grossed $2.7 million to raise its total to $35.9 million. It widened to 1,258 theatres, up 389, following its nomination victory. The film costing $25 million could now earn about $10 million in North America alone, thanks to its nominations.

The touching, suspenseful and riveting Rwandian genocide drama Hotel Rwanda, with a best-actor nomination for Don Cheadle and supporting-actress nomination for Sophie Okonedo, plus an original screenplay nomination, grabbed $1.8 million in 417 theatres, having added 98 after the nominations. Its total has reached an encouraging $8.1 million in limited release. It goes for a big expansion the coming Friday.

Box office estimates for North America, January 28-30

Rank Film Weekend gross Total gross Number of weeks
1 Hide And Seek $22 million $22m 3 days
2 Are We There Yet?

$17 million (down 8%) 

3 Million Dollar Baby $11.8 million (up 1800%) $21m 7
4 Coach Carter $8 million (down 24%) $53m 3
5 Meet The Fockers $7.5 million (down 20%) $257m 6
6 The Aviator $7.3 million (up 55%) $68m
7 Sideways $6.3 million (up 120%) $40m 15 
8 In Good Company $6.2 million (down 20%) $35m
9 Racing Stripes $6 million (down 10%) $34m 3
10 Assault On Precinct 13 $4 million (down 35%) $14m
Arthur J Pais