Culture

The Movies

Culture | The top 5 movies in popularity as measured by box office receipts for the week ended Dec. 10

Issue: "Every law counts," Dec. 23, 2000
1
How the Grinch stole Christmas $18.5 million
4 weeks in release
$195.5 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Jim Carrey, Anthony Hopkins / Ron Howard (Apollo 13) / Universal Pictures

PLOT
Big-budget revision of the famous story, with the Grinch disrupting the Whos' holiday cheer.

MESSAGE
Everyone deserves a Merry Christmas.

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CAUTION
Rated PG for some crude humor.

2
Vertical Limit $16 million
1 week in release
$16 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Bill Paxton, Chris O'Donnell / Martin Campbell (Mask of Zorro) / Columbia Pictures

PLOT
Action-adventure about a rescue mission on K2, the world's second highest peak.

MESSAGE
Extreme elements can tap man's urge for survival.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for bad language and intense life-and-death situations.

3
Proof of life $10.41 million
1 week in release
$10.41 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Russell Crowe, Meg Ryan / Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentleman) / Warner Bros.

PLOT
An engineer's wife hires a professional hostage negotiator when Third World thugs take her husband captive.

MESSAGE
Kidnapping is big business in the post-Cold War world.

CAUTION
Rated R for violence, bad language, and some drug material.

4
Unbreakable $7.5 million
3 weeks in release
$77.4 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson / M. Night Shyamalan (Sixth Sense) / Touchstone Pictures

PLOT
The sole survivor of a train wreck faces a bizarre explanation of why he was unscratched.

MESSAGE
Not everybody is a hero and not every hero knows his calling.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for disturbing and violent content (including a child pointing a gun at his father) and a crude sexual reference.

5
Dungeons and Dragons $7 million
1 week in release
$7 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Jeremy Irons, Marlon Wayans / Courtney Solomon / New Line Cinema

PLOT
Swords and sorcery inspired by the once-popular game features a group of characters trying to foil an evil wizard.

MESSAGE
Those with special abilities shouldn't be able to dominate others.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
M. Night Shyamalan may wind up as the 21st century's version of Alfred Hitchcock. Last year's Sixth Sense was an unexpected smash hit and this year's Unbreakable is a suspenseful follow-up. Bruce Willis plays a security guard who boards a train to Philly and is the sole survivor when it wrecks. He's completely unharmed and doesn't know why. An eccentric comic book art dealer (Samuel L. Jackson) enters his life, claiming the answer is that he is a real-life superhero. Mr. Shyamalan makes a risky move by creating a movie like this with little action, choosing instead to focus on the plot and characters. The Willis and Jackson characters are juxtaposed: One survived a horrific crash, while the other has a genetic ailment that makes his bones brittle and easily breakable. As with his previous effort, Mr. Shyamalan hides clues about the resolution throughout the movie-although this one does not hinge as much on a twist ending. Numerous people have tried making stories about the comic book world crossing over into normal society; this is one of the better efforts.

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