Date: 5th September 2000

From Blahs To Blech!

Universal's cheerleader comedy Bring It On kept its top spot at the box office for the second week in a row, but Universal may have been the only studio cheering as the summer season petered out.

Conventional wisdom is that patrons shun movie theaters over the Labor Day holiday because they are too busy traveling or preparing to return to school -- a theory that appeared to be upended last year when The Sixth Sense earned $29.3 million in its sixth weekend, helping to produce the biggest Labor Day holiday box office in history.

By contrast, Bring It On earned less than half of The Sixth Sense's receipts -- $14.5 million. "It was the dullest late-summer showing in recent memory," entertainment industry analyst Art Rockwell told Bloomberg News. And while industry executives cited factors such as the popularity of Survivor and the start of the presidential election to explain why an estimated 10-15 percent fewer tickets were sold at the box office this summer than last, Rockwell maintained: "Business was soft because the pictures were soft. With a few exceptions, there's very poor product out right now."

Exhibitor Relations chief Paul Dergarabedian was more upbeat, however. "The summer paled in comparison to last year but was still a solid summer," he told the Associated Press. "You just didn't have the overall movie excitement necessary to generate a record."

One of the few bright spots in the box-office picture was Clint Eastwood's Space Cowboys, which never managed to hit the top spot but has outperformed several films that did. In fact, it moved up one spot over the weekend to number three, bringing its five-week gross to $74.2 million.

The only new release to make the top ten this weekend was Miramax's Highlander: Endgame, which landed at No. 5 with $6.4 million.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:
1. Bring It On, $14.5 million; 2. The Cell, $9.1 million; 3. Space Cowboys, $8.3 million; 4. The Art of War, $7.6 million; 5. Highlander: Endgame, $6.4 million; 6. What Lies Beneath, $6.2 million; 7. The Original Kings of Comedy, $5.9 million; 8. The Replacements, $4.4 million; 9. Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, $3.8 million; 10. The Crew, $3.6 million.

Source: Studio Briefing