Twentieth Century Fox's thriller PHONE BOOTH, with VFX by Asylum, connected with U.S. moviegoers over the weekend to debut in first place with $15M. PHONE BOOTH had been pulled from its Nov. 15 slot during the Washington D.C. sniper crisis because of the scene in the film in which Colin Farrell's character is pinned down in a Manhattan phone booty by a sniper. Audiences needed WHAT A GIRL WANTS from Warner Bros., VFX work done by Cinesite, enough to give the newcomer second place at $12M. New Line's Vin Diesel actioner A MAN APART followed closely in its debut to finish in third place with $11M. DreamWorks' HEAD OF STATE dropped to fourth place, taking in $8.8M for a total of $25.3 in its second week of release. The Chris Rock comedy features VFX work by Toy Box, Pacific Title and Art, Moving Pictures and Big Film Design, which did the Mt. Rushmore effect. BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE came in at fifth, earning $8.5M for a $111.3M cume. Paramount's sci-fi thriller THE CORE spiraled to sixth place with $12.4M, bringing its two-week total to $21M. CORE effects came from Cinesite, ComputerCafé, CREO, Rising Sun Pictures, Frantic films, Hammerhead Prods., CIS Hollywood, New Deal Studios, Image Savant and 3D Site. Sony/Intermedia's BASIC, fell back to seventh place with $5.4M and a $20M in its second week, with VFX done by Pixel Magic. CHICAGO, with visual effects by Toy Box and Film Effects Inc., moved into eighth place, taking in $5.3M to bring its 15-week total to $152.2M. AGENT CODY BANKS, with VFX by Pixel Magic and Eyetronics, came in at ninth with $3.7M for a total of $40M. Disney's PIGLET'S BIG MOVIE is still in the top 10 in its third week with $3M and a $16.9M cume.
For one of the few times ever in U.S. box office history, two animated films from Japan are competing against each other. Destination/IDP Distribution's anime feature COWBOY BEBOP: THE MOVIE, based on the enormously popular animated television show currently seen on Cartoon Network in the U.S., rode in to only 19 locations in 13 markets but managed to take in $13,000 per run for a total of $247,000. Disney's limited re-release of the Oscar-winning anime picture, SPRITED AWAY, brought in another $1M for a total of $8.9M in the U.S., to finish in 18th place. Box office information obtained from boxofficemojo.com.