Razzle-Dazzle: "Chicago" Box Office Continues to Climb

News   Razzle-Dazzle: "Chicago" Box Office Continues to Climb It was a very good weekend for "Chicago," indeed.

In addition to winning three Golden Globe Awards, including Best Musical or Comedy, the Miramax film brought in an estimated $8 million at the box office, despite its limited-release status. That's over a 40 percentincrease from the previous weekend, which brought in $5.6 million. The film remained one of the top-ten draws of the weekend, with a cumulative total nearing $28 million. Other top draws of the Jan. 17-19 weekend include "Kangaroo Jack," "National Security," "Just Married," "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" and "Catch Me If You Can."

"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. A further expansion is expected Jan. 24, and the Rob Marshall-directed 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.

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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 continues to thrill audiences at the Shubert Theatre.