Monday, August 05, 2002

'Signs' reaps 69 million harvest

The Associated Press

        Signs ran crop circles around the competition to top an unusually strong weekend box office for August.

        The film, starring Mel Gibson as a farmer who finds mysterious patterns marking his fields, raked in $60.3 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

        The top 12 movies grossed an estimated $143 million, down 12 percent from the same weekend last year but still an unexpectedly strong showing, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

        Three low-budget films opened to modest takes. The Master of Disguise eked out third place in a market crowded with family films, taking in $13 million.

        In fourth place, Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat opened to $7.5 million. The film follows comedian Lawrence on a 2001 standup tour.

        Steven Soderbergh's Full Frontal debuted with just $725,000. The comedy about a group of Los Angeles oddballs had been billed as a return to Mr. Soderbergh's low-budget roots honed more than a decade ago with sex, lies and videotape. That film made about $25 million.

        Austin Powers in Goldmember, the third installment in the spy-spoof series, slipped to the No. 2 spot in its second week of release, making $32.4 million for a total of $143 million. The film is the 11th release this year to pass the $100 million mark.

        Other films in the weekend's top ten, according to estimated ticket sales by Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. (final figures are to be released today):

        1. Signs, $60.3 million.
        2. Austin Powers in Goldmember, $32.4 million.
        3. The Master of Disguise, $13 million.
        4. Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat, $7.5 million.
        5. Road to Perdition, $6.6 million.
        6. Stuart Little 2, $6 million.
        7. Men in Black 2, $4.7 million.
        8. My Big Fat Greek Wedding, $3.01 million.
        9 (tie). K-19: The Widowmaker, $3 million.
        9 (tie). The Country Bears, $3 million.


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