The Golden Globe Award-winning film of the Kander and Ebb musical moved into the number three spot, bringing in a weekend gross of $8.5 million. It's a remarkable feat for a movie that is still in limited release; "Chicago" was available at only 616 screens for the weekend past. The top two box-office grossers for the weekend, "Darkness Falls" ($12.5 million) and "Kangaroo Jack" ($11.9 million), were shown on 2,837 and 2,848 screens, respectively.
To date, "Chicago" has grossed a total of $40.6 million, just a few million shy of its estimated $45 million price tag. Other top draws of the Jan. 24-26 weekend included "Just Married," "National Security," "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," "Catch Me If You Can," "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," "About Schmidt" and "The Hours."
"Chicago," starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renée Zellweger and Richard Gere, debuted in the top-20 markets Dec. 27 and then opened at 300 other screens Jan. 3. The much-in-the-news film had another limited expansion Jan. 17 — for a total of 557 screens — and a further expansion Jan. 24; the film will open everywhere Feb. 7. The wide release comes just a few days before this year's Oscar nominations: The 75th Anniversary Academy Award nominations will be announced Feb. 11.
Featuring a star-studded cast led by Zellweger (Roxie Hart), Zeta-Jones (Velma Kelly) and Gere (Billy Flynn), the "Chicago" company also includes John C. Reilly (Amos Hart), Dominic West (Fred Caseley), Christine Baranski (Mary Sunshine), Queen Latifah (Mama Morton) as well as Taye Diggs, Colm Feore, Lucy Liu, Mya, Marc Calamia, Deidre Goodwin, Sebastian La Cause, Mary Ann Lamb and a cameo from original Chicago star Chita Rivera. Marshall, the choreographer of Broadway's Kiss of the Spider Woman and the revivals of Damn Yankees, She Loves Me, Cabaret and Little Me, directed the $45 million film, his motion-picture debut. Bill Condon wrote the "Chicago" screenplay for Miramax Studios, and the film's cinematographer was Dion Beebe. The Tony-winning lighting team of Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer lit the film.
John Kander and Fred Ebb's musical, which features such songs as "All That Jazz," "Mister Cellophane," "Class" and "Nowadays," debuted on Broadway in June 1975 with choreography by the late Bob Fosse and a cast led by Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera and Jerry Orbach. The Tony-winning revival opened in November 1996 with Bebe Neuwirth, Ann Reinking, Joel Grey and James Naughton in the lead roles. Featuring direction by Walter Bobbie and choreography by Reinking "in the style of Bob Fosse," the musical satire reopens at the Ambassador Theatre Jan. 29.