'The Quest' Finds Its Audience

"The Quest," a martial arts film featuring the directorial debut of action star Jean-Claude Van Damme, topped the weekend box office with $7 million in ticket sales, followed closely by the romantic comedy "The Truth About Cats & Dogs," which took in $6.8 million.

Van Damme's star power helped fuel the box office for "The Quest," while "Cats & Dogs" appealed largely to female audiences.

"The question we have to answer now is, how do we turn ["Cats & Dogs"] into a date movie more than a chick flick, as they say," said Tom Sherak, senior vice president of 20th Century Fox, which distributed the film.

In test screenings, the film received "recommend" votes from three-quarters of the audiences, Sherak said. "Women really like it a lot," he added. "Our advertising will now change a little bit. We'll still go after the young females again, but try and figure out how to get males to go with those females."

Among other new arrivals, "Sunset Park" finished third, with the second-highest per-screen average; "Mulholland Falls" debuted modestly at No. 5.

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Weekend Box Office

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Weekend Gross/ Screens/ Movie (Studio) Total (millions) Average 1."The Quest" $7 2,092 (Universal) $7 $3,360 2. "Truth About Cats & Dogs" $6.8 1,413 (Fox) $6.8 $4,791 3."Sunset Park" $4.71 1,257 (Sony/TriStar) $4.71 $3,743 4."Primal Fear" $4.70 1,983 (Paramount) $39.8 $2,372 5. "Mulholland Falls" $4.3 1,625 (MGM/UA) $4.3 $2,650 6. "James and the Giant Peach" $3.6 2,033 (Disney) $19.7 $1,761 7."The Birdcage" $3.4 1,958 (MGM/UA) $109.3 $1,719 8."The Substitute" $2.7 1,762 (Orion) $10.4 $1,535 9."Fear" $2.3 1,598 (Universal) $15.8 $1,470 10."Thin Line Between Love & Hate" $2 1,092 (New Line) $29.2 $1,858

Weeks in Movie (Studio) Release 1."The Quest" 1 (Universal) 2. "Truth About Cats & Dogs" 1 (Fox) 3."Sunset Park" 1 (Sony/TriStar) 4."Primal Fear" 4 (Paramount) 5. "Mulholland Falls" 1 (MGM/UA) 6. "James and the Giant Peach" 3 (Disney) 7."The Birdcage" 8 (MGM/UA) 8."The Substitute" 2 (Orion) 9."Fear" 3 (Universal) 10."Thin Line Between Love & Hate" 4 (New Line)

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SOURCE: Exhibitor Relations Co.

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