"Gladiator" Dominates "Battlefield"
Roman epic remains victorious at box office with estimated $24.3 million Updated 4:30 PM ET May 14, 2000
by Bridget Byrne
Battlefield Earth was ruled by Gladiator at the box-office games. Filling arenas for a second weekend as the nation's number one movie, Gladiator, Russell Crowe's ancient Rome spectacle, earned an estimated $24.3 million. The DreamWorks film lost only 30 percent of its previous week's audience and garnered a per screen average of $8,257 at 2,943 locations. It has now grossed $73.3 million.
Battlefield Earth, John Travolta's sci(entology)-fi debacle, landed in second place with a measly $12.3 million--about half of Gladiator's take despite playing in 400 more theaters.
Warned by blistering reviews that described this costly adapatation of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's novel as "drivel," "stinkaroo" and "deeply dumb," it seems few but the faithful took it in. Warner Bros. distribution chief, Dan Fellman, gamely claimed that the link to the controversial religion "never really came into play," but it certainly didn't help: The movie's per screen average was just $3,719 in 3,307 sites.
Another heat-of-battle flick, the World War II submarine drama U-571, submerged in third. The smooth-sailing popcorn-cruncher earned $5.8 million and has grossed $57.9 million in four weeks of release. The gotta-dance movie Center Stage tripped into fourth place with $4.8 million, tying The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas and Frequency, according to preliminary data from the receipt counters at Exhibitor Relations.
Another newcomer, Screwed, a so-called comedy from Canada starring Norm Macdonald, clunked into eighth place with $3.4 million. Jamie Foxx's Held Up, another lame effort to find comedy in crime, snuck into the final spot in the top 10, with $1.9 million, tying with the reasonably successful Keeping the Faith, now in its fifth week. In limited release, the updated version of Shakespeare's Hamlet, starring Ethan Hawke as a money market heir in New York, attracted the curious to the tune of $61,000 at just four locations.
Here's a rundown of the top 10:
1. Gladiator, $24.3 million
2. Battlefield Earth, $12.3 million
3. U-571, $5.8 million
4. Center Stage, $4.8 million
4. The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, $4.8 million
4. Frequency, $4.8 million
7. Where the Heart Is, $3.6 million
8. Screwed, $3.4 million
9. Love and Basketball, $2 million
10. Held Up, $1.9 million
10. Keeping the Faith, $1.9 million