”Meet the Parents” topped the box office for a third weekend in a row, pulling in an estimated $16.3 million. But the devilish Liz Hurley/ Brendan Fraser comedy ”Bedazzled” was hot on its heels, debuting at No. 2 with $13.7 million. Critics may not have taken too kindly to the modern remake of this 1967 Dudley Moore/ Peter Cook cult flick, but Hurley’s ability to dazzle the tabloids seems to have paid off with box office success.
”Pay It Forward” (No. 3) also defied critical expectations with a $10.2 million take. Most mainstream reviewers had urged audiences to stay away from this film, even with its star studded Oscar winning cast (Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and nominee Haley Joel Osment). Despite the excoriation, participants said they were pleased with the outcome. ”It’s a very special kind of film,” Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., told the Associated Press. ”Considering the movie plays mainly to older audiences, and considering you had the World Series this weekend, we were pleased it did as well as it did.”
Holdover ”Remember the Titans” (No. 4) managed to finish close behind ”Forward.” The Denzel Washington football drama scored a $10.2 million take in its fourth week. Meanwhile, the six year old action flick, Jackie Chan’s ”The Legend of Drunken Master,” rounded out the top five, debuting in the U.S. with $3.7 million in earnings.
”Parents” has proved hard to beat so far, but the upcoming weeks are sure to topple the three time No. 1 film. The sequel to 1999’s biggest indie breakout, ”The Blair Witch Project,” opens Friday — just in time for Halloween. The following weekend brings the potential blockbuster ”Charlie’s Angels.” And the Jim Carey starrer ”Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” arrives the weekend before Thanksgiving.
CRITICAL MASS Critics may have loathed ”Pay It Forward,” but as far as EW.com readers are concerned, the tearjerker was a hit. Overall, the Kevin Spacey/ Haley Joel Osment morality lesson scored a solid B+ from voters (critics gave the flick a D). Some 67 percent of readers said the film was far better than they had expected. Moreover, a whopping 54 percent said they were likely to see the movie again, and an extremely satisfied 83 percent indicated they would recommend the movie to friends.
Hurley and Fraser’s ”Bedazzled” remake was not quite as pleasing to EW.com readers. But the remake still earned a solid B average from voters (much higher than the critics’ lowly average of C-). Overall, 48 percent indicated that the comedy was about as good as they had expected, and a healthy 33 percent said they would recommend the Faust tale to friends. Given that 43 percent of readers saw the movie for its leads, it’s safe to say that Hurley has made a successful transition from being a star in the tabs to a star on the silver screen. Let’s just hope she doesn’t conveniently forget she’s in the union should they decide to strike next summer.
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