Reviews > Movies

The Box Office

Movies | The Top 5 films for the weekend of May 31, as measured by box-office receipts

Issue: "Global shame," June 15, 2002
1
THE SUM OF ALL FEARS
Phil Alden Robinson / Paramount
1 week / $31.2 million / $31.2 million to date

PLOT
Another Jack Ryan thriller from Tom Clancy, this time with Ben Affleck in the lead as a young CIA analyst who must prevent a plot to push the U.S. and Russia into a full-scale nuclear war.

BOTTOM LINE
Moderately successful as a thriller, despite a weak performance from Mr. Affleck; made more effective-and chilling-by real-world terrorist threats.

We see you’ve been enjoying the content on our exclusive member website. Ready to get unlimited access to all of WORLD’s member content?
Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.
(Don’t worry. It only takes a sec—and you don’t have to give us payment information right now.)

Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for violence, disaster images, and brief bad language.

2
STAR WARS: EPISODE II
George Lucas / 20th Century Fox
3 weeks / $20.6 million / $232 million to date

PLOT
No. 2 of three prequels to the original Star Wars trilogy, chronicling the maturation of Anakin Skywalker and growing unrest in the Galactic Republic.

BOTTOM LINE
Another mostly disappointing entry in this series that manages to find its footing-and awaken the audience-in its final third.

CAUTION
Rated PG for sustained sequences of sci-fi action/violence.

3
SPIDER-MAN
Sam Raimi / Sony
5 weeks / $14.5 million / $354 million to date

PLOT
An adaptation of the comic, in which a genetically modified spider bites a young man, giving him superhuman powers; he learns to harness his new gifts and use them to fight evil.

BOTTOM LINE
Above-average superhero tale with likeable characters and a worthwhile message about the responsibility to utilize one's gifts for good.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for stylized violence and action.

4
UNDERCOVER BROTHER
Malcolm D. Lee / Universal
1 week / $12.1 million / $12.1 million to date

PLOT
A blaxploitation parody that pits Internet cartoon hero Undercover Brother against a plot by "The Man" to undermine prominent black leaders through a mind-control scheme.

BOTTOM LINE
Silly, refreshingly un-PC, sometimes funny comedy that is not unexpectedly loaded with crude humor and sexual innuendo.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for bad language, sexual humor, drug content, and campy violence.

5
SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON
Kelly Asbury & Lorna Cook / DreamWorks
1 week / $10.7 million / $38.2 million to date

PLOT
A wild horse in the American West is captured by the U.S. Cavalry and, with the help of a friendly Native American boy, must fight to regain his freedom and protect his herd.

BOTTOM LINE
Attractively animated but warped view of history that goes out of its way to paint an unflattering picture of the U.S. Army and the westward expansion.

CAUTION
Rated G.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Novelist Tom Clancy's character Jack Ryan has been brought to film three times before: once by Alec Baldwin, twice by Harrison Ford. Ben Affleck now embodies Ryan in the new Clancy adaptation, The Sum of All Fears. To accommodate Mr. Affleck's demographic, the character is now a young CIA analyst new to the agency. Despite his inexperience, Ryan is thrust into the center of a plot to pit the United States and Russia against each other in an all-out nuclear war. A neo-Nazi organization led by a sinister Austrian (Alan Bates, doing the best he can with a canned character) attempts to set the ball rolling with an attack on Ravens Stadium in Baltimore during the Super Bowl. This scene has been the focus of media attention. Although some of the debate is overblown (especially since so few critics will acknowledge the negative effect that images on film can have in other circumstances), the attack scene is resonant in a way that would have been impossible pre-9/11. The rest of the film is a mixed bag. The more weight the plot puts on Mr. Affleck, the less convincing he becomes. The fine supporting cast helps to fill the gaps-particularly Morgan Freeman as CIA director and Liev Schreiber as a "real" field agent.

Comments

You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading

     

    Calvary

    The premise of Calvary , in limited release Aug.