Liane Bonin
February 21, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

This weekend was all about girl power, at least at the box office. Female fans flocked to the Meg Ryan vehicle ”Hanging Up,” while Matthew Perry’s powers over the fairer sex are believed to have helped ”The Whole Nine Yards” score box office gold. Both films tied for first place with $15 million. The rest of the jackpot was split between newcomers and old favorites. ”Snow Day” returned to take third place with $11.4 million, ”Pitch Black” debuted in fourth place with $11.1 million, and ”Scream 3” slipped from first place to fifth with $9 million.

This week’s Oscar nominations kept several golden oldies in the running. Eight-time nominee ”American Beauty,” which had been close to death a week ago playing in just seven theaters, was revived by Dreamworks, which pushed the film into 1,287 theaters to give it a ninth place showing and $5.3 million. Seven-time nominee ”The Cider House Rules” took in $3 million, double last week’s earnings, while Best Picture nominee ”The Green Mile” held on to 10th place with $3.2 million.

CRITICAL MASS While Oscar nominees held strong, ”The Beach” took a heavy hit in the rankings. Though the film received a fair grade of C+ in our Critical Mass readers poll, the movie may not have been exciting enough to inspire return business. Forty-six percent of readers said it was very unlikely that they would see it again, and 42 percent said it was worse than they expected. Though ”The Beach” ranked slightly higher with women than men (B- versus C+), females may have chosen ”Hanging Up” instead this weekend. But whether they think Matthew Perry is way cuter than Leo is an open question.

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