MEL'S HOT, BUFFY'S NOT

Football’s over and the guys have gone back to the movies. How better to explain the success this weekend of Mel Gibson’s “Payback,” which knocked the teen romance “She’s All That” out from the top of the box office heap. “Payback” had the best opening so far this year with $21.4 million in ticket sales, while “She’s All That” had $12 million, according to industry estimates. “Simply Irresistible,” starring Sarah Michelle Gellar of TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” debuted with a disappointing $2.4 million. The film was stung by bad reviews and fierce competition in the youth market from “She’s All That” and the still-potent “Varsity Blues.”

Estimated grosses at North American theaters for Friday through Sunday:

  1. “Payback,” $21.4 million.
  2. She’s All That,” $12 million.
  3. “Patch Adams,” $4.5 million.
  4. “Varsity Blues,” $4 million.
  5. “Saving Private Ryan,” $3.6 million.
  6. “Shakespeare in Love,” $3.6 million.
  7. “A Civil Action,” $3.2 million.
  8. “Stepmom,” $2.6 million.
  9. “Simply Irresistible,” $2.4 million.
  10. “You’ve Got Mail,” $2.3 million.
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