MediaCircus' Winners & Sinners: March 2001

Special Feature by Anthony Leong © Copyright 2001


Winners & Sinners March 2001 artwork courtesy of AtNZone.com

Guy Pearce in Memento

Movie-going in March came in like a lamb... and roared out like a lion. It was just before the Ides of March that the box office suffered its first setback in 21 winning weeks. Since the middle of October, the weekend box office grosses had been surpassing the comparables from the prior year, but in the case of March 9-11, the weekend gross dropped for the first time and dropped hard-- a startling 12%. Unfortunately, this trend continued through the rest of the month, with decreases in the range of 5-8% on subsequent weekends. Industry analysts were quick to blame the tepid ticket sales on a major snowstorm that battered the East coast in the early part of the month, as well as the traditional laggard attendance numbers over the Oscar weekend. It wasn't until the last weekend of the month that business finally picked up, buoyed by the huge $27 million opening of "Spy Kids", the fourth largest March opening in movie history (behind "Liar, Liar", "Erin Brockovich", and "The Matrix").

Carla Gugino, Antonio Banderas, Daryl Sabara, and Alexa Vega in SpyKids

Despite the lackluster box office, there was a surprisingly decent selection of films that opened up during the month, particularly towards the latter half. While studios were still cleaning house, dumping their unwanted offerings for quick sale to undiscriminating audiences, there were a number of terrific films to see, some of which could easily be considered the best of the year, such as:

Finally, looking at the raft of 'Sinners' of the month:

DMX and Steven Seagal in ExitWounds

April certainly looks to be an exciting month of new releases, and perhaps in combination with the warmer weather, the box office will regain some of its lost virility. With some intriguing offerings such as the "Kiss the Girls" sequel "Along Came a Spider", "Blow", the filmed version of "Bridget Jones' Diary" starring Renée Zellweger (I'd like to see how she pulls that off!), the return of an 'Oz' Eighties icon in "Crocodile Dundee in L.A.", and "Pokemon 3" (maybe not), April should be a good dry-run for the official start of the summer movie-going season in May, which will kick off with the likes of "The Mummy Returns" and "Pearl Harbor". Stay tuned until next time...

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