The usually tepid Labor Day box office was dominated by the teen-targeted horror flick, which scared up a record $15.8 million over the four-day weekend, according to final studio figures Tuesday.
Those who follow the weekly box-office horse race undoubtedly realize that $15.8 million isn't exactly Jurassic Park territory. Labor Day is never a big movie weekend, usually reserved for castoffs. In fact, the previous recordholder was 1996's The Crow: City of Angels, which winged in with just $9.8 million.
Jeepers Creepers, a haunted road-trip thriller, crept into the top slot ahead of a crop of lingerers and leftovers. The other new entry, O, opened in seventh place with an estimated $6.9 million.
The R-rated Lions Gate release--a Gen Y spin on Shakespeare's Othello that was long-delayed because of fears over its high-school shooting storyline--attracted a slightly older audience than Jeepers Creepers, earning $4,800 per each of its 1,434 screens. MGM's R-rated Jeepers Creepers averaged $5,400 at 2,944 screens.
Established sequel hits Rush Hour 2 and American Pie 2 continued to peform well. The Jackie-Chan-Chris Tucker buddy caper held onto the second slot with only a 20 percent downturn, earning $11.8 million over four days to bring its five-week gross to $198.9 million. Last week's number one, Pie 2, fell 29 percent to third place with $11 million, bringing its four-week total to $124.9 million.
The sharpest drop came from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, which lost 53 percent of its debut numbers and dropped from third place to eighth with just $6.5 million.
In limited release, the art-house murder mystery The Deep End, starring Tilda Swinton, continued to grip audiences in its fourth week. At just 326 sites, the R-rated Fox Searchlight release earned $1.7 million.
Overall, the top 12 films grossed $94 million--a new Labor Day record and up nearly 25 percent from last year's Labor Day weekend, when Bring It On was the repeat number one.
According to box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations, here are the results of the four-day holiday weekend:
1. Jeepers Creepers, $15.8 million
2. Rush Hour 2, $11.8 million
3. American Pie 2, $11 million
4. The Others, $10.2 million
5. Rat Race, $9.2 million
6. The Princess Diaries, $7.6 million
7. O, $6.9 million
8. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, $6.5 million
9. Summer Catch, $4.9 million
10. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, $3.9 million
(originally published 9/3/01 at 12:45 p.m. PT)