Date: 20th November 2000

The Grinch Gets Away With It.

In the end, the critics didn't steal The Grinch.

Parents united together like the population of Whoville and swamped theaters all over the country to give Universal's Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas the second-best opening of the year (behind Mission: Impossible 2, which took in $57.9 million).

The film, which stars Jim Carrey, earned an estimated $55.1 million, much of that from half-price children's admissions. Many parents, faced with "Sold Out" signs posted for many performances, pacified their young ones by taking them to the opening of the animated Rugrats in Paris: The Movie instead. It took in about $23 million and wound up in second place. (The original 1998 Rugrats movie debuted with $4 million more but had the children's market all to itself.) T

he two kid flicks face competition from Disney's 102 Dalmatians next weekend. Grinch gave Universal Pictures, which many analysts had written off as a has-been film studio only a few months ago, its fifth straight number-one release, a record. "We're thrilled. No one ever expected this kind of opening," Universal distribution chief Nikki Rocco told Bloomberg News. "This is beyond anyone's expectation." T

he movie also marked new career bests for Carrey and director Ron Howard (who, coincidentally, in what may have been his first job at the helm of a TV production, directed 1979's Through the Magic Pyramid., which starred the late Hans Conried, narrator of the Dr. Seuss animated shorts and "talking books.")

Meanwhile, Charlie's Angels, which had topped the box office for two weeks, fluttered down to third place, taking in around $13.7 million and bringing its total to $93.6 million. (With the Thanksgiving Day holiday approaching, the movie is virtually certain to pass $100 million by the end of the week.)

Two other new releases followed, Columbia's The 6th Day, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, earned $13.2 million, extending the action star's career descent.

Miramax's Bounce, starring Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow, wound up in fifth place with $10.5 million. If actual ticket sales turn out to match estimates, the top 12 films are likely to earn $148.3 million, a 42-percent increase from the same weekend a year ago. Next weekend could even be bigger, according to Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office trackers Exhibitor Relations. He's predicting a record Thanksgiving box office.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:
1. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, $55.1 million; 2. Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, $23 million; 3. Charlie's Angels, $13.7 million; 4. The 6th Day, $13.2 million; 5. Bounce, $11.5 million; 6. Men of Honor, $8 million; 7. Little Nicky, $7.7 million; 8. Meet the Parents, $6.4 million; 9. The Legend of Bagger Vance, $2.9 million; 10. Red Planet, $2.7 million.

Source: Studio Briefing