'Noise' takes on 'Fockers' in weekend box office race

Friday, January 7, 2005

After two weekends of box office domination, Universal Pictures' Meet the Fockers will be challenged for the top spot by horror film White Noise, also from Universal, which opens in wide release Friday.

To be considered in wide release, a film must open or play in at least 1,000 theatres throughout the U.S. and Canada. With Noise being the only new wide release movie for the weekend, it looks to take advantage of movie goers looking from a change from holiday themed film fare.

Noise is a come-back attempt for Michael Keaton, who hasn't had a hit movie since 1992's Batman Returns. But according to one critic, this film may not be a comeback hit for Keaton.

"White Noise never gives skeptics a chance to enjoy the film. I also suspect even believers will be bored," Jack Garner, film critic for Gannet News Service said. Garner's not alone in panning the film. According to web site RottenTomatoes.com, 87 percent of film critics in its survey have given the film a bad review.

"The nominal thriller White Noise is worthy neither of Michael Keaton's talents nor even a desperate horror fan's attention," Manohla Dargis, film critic for the New York Times, said.

But not all reviews were bad. Hollywood Reporter critic, Kirk Honeycutt said, "Even though logic takes a holiday in White Noise, Geoffrey Sax, a British television director making his theatrical debut, lavishes enough craft on the paranormal thriller to send more than a few chills down the spine."

The movie faces stiff competition as five other films have a wider release, playing in more theatres and reaching a larger potential audience. Universal's Meet the Fockers, the sequel to 2000's Meet the Parents is playing in about 1,000 more theatres than Noise and could dominate the box office for a third weekend.

'Fockers', starring Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand, has made $186.5 million since its release Dec. 22, according to Box Office Mojo.

Wide release films for the weekend of Jan. 7

The following films will be playing in at least 1,000 U.S. and Canada venues:

Source: Box Office Mojo
Rank Title Studio/Distributor Theatre Count Change
1. Meet the Fockers Universal 3,528 +4
2. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Paramount 3,343 -280
3. Ocean's Twelve Warner Bros. 3,010 -280
4. Fat Albert 20th Century Fox 2,675 -69
5. Spanglish Columbia 2,587 +98
6. White Noise Universal 2,258 NEW
7. National Treasure Touchstone 2,177 -105
8. The Polar Express Warner Bros. 2,007 -506
9. The Aviator Miramax 1,867 +71
10. Darkness Dimension 1,714 -4
11. The Flight of the Phoenix 20th Century Fox 1,643 -730
12. The Incredibles Disney/Pixar 1,619 -96
13. Blade: Trinity New Line 1,507 -700
14. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Touchstone 1,105 0
15. Closer Columbia 1,098 +4
16. Finding Neverland Miramax 1,077 +23