Movie 'Dodgeball' bombards theaters

Monday, June 21, 2004

LOS ANGELES -- Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn buried Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg under a barrage of red rubber balls.

Stiller and Vaughn's "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" debuted as the weekend's top movie with $30 million, whipping Hanks and Spielberg's "The Terminal," which opened at No. 2 with $18.7 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

"With a Spielberg and Hanks movie, we never thought we would be this far ahead. That's rarefied air," said Bruce Snyder, head of distribution for 20th Century Fox, which released "Dodgeball."

The weekend's other new wide release, Jackie Chan and Steve Coogan's "Around the World in 80 Days," came in at No. 9 with just $6.8 million for the weekend and $9.6 million since opening Wednesday.

"Dodgeball" stars Vaughn as a gym owner whose squad of geeks and losers tries to save their destitute health club in a dodgeball showdown against rival bully Stiller's team.

The movie's lowbrow humor -- including a coach forcing his players to duck metal wrenches to hone their dodging skills -- proved a stronger draw than the classy comedy "The Terminal," about an Eastern European stuck for months in customs limbo at Kennedy airport.

"It's really hard to beat a movie like 'Dodgeball.' Everybody I talked with wanted to see it, even though they thought it looked really dumb," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released today.

1. "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," $30 million.

2. "The Terminal," $18.7 million.

3. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," $17.4 million.

4. "Shrek 2," $13.6 million.

5. "Garfield: The Movie," $11 million.

6. "The Stepford Wives," $9.2 million.

7. "The Chronicles of Riddick," $8.3 million.

8. "The Day After Tomorrow," $7.55 million.

9. "Around the World in 80 Days," $6.8 million.

10. "Troy," $1.7 million.

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