Date: 18th December 2000

Women Want Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson is apparently set to make an easy transition from action hero to romantic-comedy idol, given the estimated $34.4 million take over the weekend for his latest movie, What Women Want -- the biggest box-office gross ever for the opening of a Gibson film. (His 1996 film Ransom debuted with $34.2 million.) It is also the most ever earned by a December opener, exceeding the $32.9 million taken in by Scream 2 when it debuted three years ago. Tracking studies indicated that 60 percent of the audience for Women were women, leading Exhibitor Relations chief Paul Dergarabedian to remark in an interview with Bloomberg News: "This shows the power of the female audience and what can happen when a film strongly appeals to women." In second place was the teen comedy, Dude, Where's My Car, which was not screened for critics. (Many of them didn't bother reviewing it over the weekend, either. Those who did trashed it. "This movie is an almost chuckle-free mess," writes Jonathan Foreman in today's New York Post, "so amateurish and lame that the cast often has that embarrassed look you see on dogs given ridiculous haircuts.") Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which had held the top spot for four weekends, fell to third place with $13.0 million, bringing its gross to date to $212.9 million, while Disney's The Emperor's New Groove earned a dismal $10 million. It was the second disappointing opening for a Disney feature in the past month, following last month's 102 Dalmatians.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations: 1. What Women Want, $34.4 million; 2. Dude, Where's My Car?, $14 million; 3. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, $13 million; 4. The Emperor's New Groove, $10 million; 5. Vertical Limit, $9 million; 6. Proof of Life, $5.2 million; 7. Unbreakable, $3.9 million; 8. 102 Dalmatians, $2.7 million; 9. Dungeons & Dragons, $2.2 million; 10. Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, $1.8 million.

Source: Studio Briefing