"Jackass The Movie" -- the big-screen version of MTV's former hit series based on reckless performers engaging in dangerous stunts and gross behavior -- took in a respectable $22.7 million and finished on top in its opening weekend, as the U.S. box office continued its march to another record year.
"The Ring" finished second with $18.8 million, recording a rare increase it its box-office take from its opening weekend to its second weekend. A new scary movie, "Ghost Ship," sailed into third place with an $11.7 million opening.
Reese Witherspoon hit romantic comedy "Sweet Home Alabama" was fourth with $6.4 million and a running total of $107.2 million. "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" is still accommodating lots of guests, with $6.3 million in its 28th week in release -- for a running total $177.8 million and distributors now forecasting the movie will top $200 million before it's done.
Overall, moviegoers spent $105 million, 22 percent more than the grosses for the same weekend in 2001. The U.S. box office is running about 13 percent of last year's pace with an estimated $7.24 billion in B.O.
CURTIS HANSEN'S NEXT
Fresh off directing Eminem's movie acting debut, Curtis Hanson ("Wonder Boys," "L.A. Confidential") has plans to direct and produce a series of screen adaptations of crime novels by George P. Pelecanos -- beginning with "Right as Rain."
Pelecanos fans have warmed up to the adventures of Derek Strange, a Washington, D.C., detective with some miles on him.
Before he gets to Pelecanos project, Hansen plans to direct "Lucky You," described as the story of a young poker player intent on winning a big-stakes tournament in Las Vegas.
'SPONGEBOB' RATINGS SQUEEZE?
There seems to be a new top dog at Nickelodeon, where "SpongeBob SquarePants" has been the big ratings winner since catching on with audiences of all ages.
The newest hit is "The Fairly OddParents," which beat "SpongeBob" among viewers 2-11 on Saturday -- the first loss in 23 weeks for the loony, absorbent and porous underwater hero.
"Fairly OddParents" -- a play on "Fairy Godparents" -- premiered in March 2001. The main character, Timmy Turner, is a 10-year old boy who wishes for an ideal life, often calling on his fairy godparents to work their magic.
'BAG OF BONES' GETS DIRECTOR
Plans call for Peter Care ("The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys") to direct the upcoming movie version of Stephen King's 1998 novel "Bag of Bones," according to The Hollywood Reporter -- which said the deal depended on a thumbs up from King himself.
The book is about a young novelist who collaborates with the spirit of his late wife to try to prevent the death of a 3-year-old at the hands of a serial killer.
HONORS FOR ARTHUR PENN
The Los Angeles Film Critics Association has announced that it will honor Arthur Penn ("Little Big Man," "Alice's Restaurant," "Bonnie and Clyde") with its Career Achievement Award.
Beside "Little Big Man" and "Bonnie and Clyde," he was nominated for "The Miracle Worker" -- the 1962 drama based on the life of Helen Keller. Under Penn's direction, Anne Bancroft won for best actress and Patty Duke won for best supporting actress.
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