It's all there in black and white: "Pleasantville" was the No. 1 movie this weekend with $8.9 million, making it New Line's third consecutive movie to debut at the top spot (after "Blade" and "Rush Hour"). But the '90s-teen-in-a-'50s-sitcom hit was the only new wide release that had anything to brag about. Kurt Russell's "Soldier" came in a weak fifth with $6.4 million and Bryan Singer's "Apt Pupil" placed a dismal ninth with only $3.6 million.
While "Pupil" -- about a teen who discovers an aging Nazi living in his neighborhood -- struggled, another Holocaust-related film was quietly drawing adoring crowds. "Life is Beautiful," Roberto Benigni's award-winning Italian comedy-drama about a man protecting his son in a concentration camp, earned $119,000 in six theaters, for a whopping average of $19,800 per screen. (Compare that to "Pleasantville"'s $5,413 average.)
Meanwhile, past top performers continued to cling to the top 5: "Practical Magic" ($8.8 million) in second, followed by "Antz" ($8.1 million), and "Bride of Chucky" ($7.1 million). But "Beloved" is not feeling the love, dropping nearly fifty percent this weekend to land in seventh with only $4.3 million.