Monday, January 13, 2003

'Just Married' debuts on top

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - Audiences ignored the critics and propelled the Brittany Murphy and Ashton Kutcher comedy Just Married to the top of the weekend box office.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, which had been No. 1 for three straight weekends, slipped to second place with $15 million in receipts, but that pushed its total domestic gross to $283.6 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Just Married stars Murphy and Kutcher as mismatched newlyweds on a chaotic, slapstick honeymoon in Europe.

Generally disliked by critics, Just Married appealed solidly to young movie-goers, with people younger than 21 making up 65 percent of the audience, according to distributor 20th Century Fox.

Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Ca" came in third with $14.8 million, raising its total to $119.5 million. It was the 23rd movie released in 2002 to top $100 million, beating the previous record of 22 set in 2000.

Expanding from narrow release, Denzel Washington's Antwone Fisher and Nicolas Cage's Adaptation broke into the top 10.

Antwone Fisher, directed by Mr. Washington and starring Derek Luke as a violent sailor confronting childhood traumas, widened to 1,006 theaters and came in at No. 9 with $3.8 million.

The offbeat Hollywood tale Adaptation," reteaming Being John Malkovich writer Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze, was No. 10 with $2.9 million in 560 theaters.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

Final figures will be released today.

1. Just Married, $18 million.

2. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, $15 million.

3. Catch Me If You Can, $14.8 million.

4. Two Weeks Notice, $6.7 million.

5. About Schmidt, $6.3 million.

6. Chicago, $5.6 million.

7 (tie). Maid in Manhattan, $5 million.

7 (tie). Gangs of New York, $5 million.

9. Antwone Fisher, $3.8 million.

10. Adaptation, $2.9 million.

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