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GOOD DEEDS DONE

Sandler Back as Film Opens With $37.6 Million

Mr. Deeds went to town in a big way at the U.S. box office as the Adam Sandler comedy debuted as the No. 1 weekend film with $37.6 million.

A remake of Frank Capra and Gary Cooper's classic Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Sandler's film overcame generally bad reviews and played well among his core audience of young males. The debut of Mr. Deeds was on par with his two biggest hits, Big Daddy, which took in $41.5 million over opening weekend, and The Waterboy, which did $39.4 million. Both films went on to top $160 million. Many were worried that after Little Nicky bombed, Sandler had lost some of his appeal.

Last weekend's No. 1 film, Minority Report, slipped to third place with $21.6 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. Lilo & Stitch, which opened just $400,000 behind Minority Report last weekend, remained the No. 2 movie with $22.2 million.

The weekend's other new wide release, the animated TV adaptation Hey Arnold! The Movie, opened a distant sixth with $6 million.

With the strong premiere of Mr. Deeds and solid staying power for Lilo & Stitch, Minority Report and other holdover films, the industry scored another rising weekend, according to the Associated Press. Movie revenues are running more than 20% ahead of last year, when Hollywood took in a record $8.4 billion.

The industry should get a fresh box office jolt over the Fourth of July holiday, with likely blockbuster Men in Black II debuting and many Americans taking a five-day weekend.

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