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Monday, 15 October, 2001, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK
US box office 'hurt by scares'
Billy Bob Thornton and Bruce Willis
Bandits stars Billy Bob Thornton and Bruce Willis
US box office returns have been hit by renewed public safety scares, say US film bosses.

Bank-robber comedy Bandits was affected on its debut weekend, leaving Denzel Washington's Training Day at number one for the second weekend running.

Bandits, starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett, was expected to earn some $20m in its first weekend - but grossed just $13.46m (9.3m).

Friday night in particular was hit by a mass stay-at-home by film-goers.

Robert Levin, MGM's president of marketing and distribution, said: "Friday was a complete wipeout."

US box office top five
1. Training Day
2. Bandits
3. Corky Romano
4. Serendipity
5. Don't Say a Word
6. Iron Monkey
7. Zoolander
8. Joy Ride
9. Max Keeble's Big Move
10. Hearts in Atlantis

Training Day, in which Denzil Washington stars as a corrupt narcotics detective, stayed on top of the chart with a box office gross of $13.55m (9.34m).

Bandits was at number two, followed by Corky Romano, a mob comedy starring Chris Kattan, which earned $9.3m (6.4m) in its first weekend.

The weekend's other debut film was the martial-arts adventure Iron Monkey, which entered the charts at number six and took $6m (4.1m).

Commenting on consumer behaviour over the weekend, MGM's Mr Levin said that news about anthrax infections hurt business on Friday.

'Self-imposed blizzard'

"People became really attentive to the news that day," he said.

"Everyone understands blizzards and earthquakes - this was a self-imposed blizzard where a lot of people just didn't want to go out of the house."

Serendipity sees Cusack play the dating game with Beckinsale
But analyst Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations, said that the poor audiences for Bandits could not simply be laid at the door of general public nervousness.

"It wouldn't just happen to their movie," he said.

"If there was a scare keeping people out of theatres, it would happen across-the-board."

Mr Dergarabedian blamed the disappointing showing of Bandits on the fact that male movie-goers were choosing Training Day instead.

In fact, the top 12 films grossed $78.8m (54.3m) in total - up 6.4 percent from the same weekend a year ago.

See also:

24 Sep 01 | Film
Films slump in US
17 Sep 01 | Film
US box office rallies
01 Oct 01 | Film
Audiences return to US cinemas
13 Sep 01 | Film
Hollywood 'changed forever'
10 Sep 01 | Film
Musketeer tops US movie chart
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