'Riding in Cars' stops short of 'Hell' at box office

— It was an odd mix of kiss kiss, slash slash at the weekend box office as movie-goers split their attention between a 1960s chick flick and a tale of Victorian-era mass murder.

Johnny Depp's Jack the Ripper thriller "From Hell" debuted as the weekend's No. 1 movie with $11.3 million. "Riding in Cars With Boys," a tale of reluctant motherhood in the mid-1960s starring Drew Barrymore, opened a close second with $10.8 million.


AP Photo

Heather Graham and Johnny Depp star in "From Hell," a movie based on the Jack the Ripper slayings that premiered in first place at the box office over the weekend.

The weekend's other new wide-release film, Robert Redford's military-prison drama "The Last Castle," was No. 5 with $7.1 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

"Training Day," the top film for the last two weekends, slipped to No. 3 with $9.5 million, pushing its total to $57.5 million. "Bandits," which opened at No. 2 a week ago, fell to fourth place with $8.4 million.

The overall box office was up slightly over last year. The top 12 films grossed $74.5 million, up about 4 percent from the same weekend last year, a sign that worries over the terrorist attacks and anthrax threats were not keeping people out of movie theaters.

But it was a relatively flat market compared to many weekends this year, when the box office posted big revenue increases over the same weekends in 2000. Other than "Training Day" two weeks ago, new films are opening to modest numbers.

"I think there may be a lot of global reasons why the market isn't expanding like it was earlier in the year," said Jeff Blake, head of distribution at Sony.

"I think the main reasons maybe everybody's getting a little less than they hoped is there's a lot of new movies out there," he said. "Three or four new pictures a week is tough for the market to absorb."

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

1. "From Hell," $11.3 million.

2. "Riding in Cars With Boys," $10.8 million.

3. "Training Day," $9.5 million.

4. "Bandits," $8.4 million.

5. "The Last Castle," $7.1 million.

6. "Serendipity," $5.8 million.

7. "Corky Romano," $5.3 million.

8. "Don't Say a Word," $4.4 million.

9. "Zoolander," $3.3 million.

10. "Iron Monkey," $3.2 million.


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