Monday, May 24, 2004

Animated 'Shrek 2' tops 'Nemo' debut weekend




The Associated Press

It's a humongous "happily ever after" for Shrek 2.

The computer-animated fairy tale satire collected an estimated $104.3 million at the weekend box office, the second-biggest three-day tally in movie history behind 2002's Spider-Man, which took in $114.8 million.

Shrek 2 also scored the biggest opening ever for an animated film, easily topping Finding Nemo's $70.2 million. Shrek, which opened in 2001, earned $42.3 million in its first weekend - but went on to collect $267.6 million and win the first Oscar for an animated feature film.

For the sequel, the grumpy green ogre collected $28.4 million Friday, and then jumped a remarkable 58 percent Saturday to earn $44.8 million, according to Jim Tharp, head of distribution for DreamWorks.

Saturday's earnings broke Hollywood's overall record for highest one-day earnings, also held by Spider-Man with $43.6 million.

DreamWorks estimated the movie would earn an additional $31 million Sunday - but even rival studios suggested the take would be higher than that. Final figures will be released today.

Last week's No. 1 film, the Brad Pitt epic Troy, fell to second place in its second weekend, earning $23.8 million for a total of $85.8 million.

Meanwhile, third-place Van Helsing crossed the $100 million mark with weekend earnings of $10.1 million.

"Shrek 2 was cutting into everybody else's audience," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

In the sequel, the title ogre (voiced by Mike Myers), his bride, Fiona (Cameron Diaz), and their pal Donkey (Eddie Murphy) visit Fiona's royal parents in the kingdom of Far, Far Away.

Critics loved the movie, which appealed to young kids with colorful characters, teenagers with comedy, couples with romance, and older audiences with a subplot about parents accepting the decisions of their grown-up children.

"Shrek 2," which opened Wednesday, screened in the largest number of opening theaters ever - 4,163 locations. It also brought in $125.3 million over its first five days, breaking the record set by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which grossed $124.1 million.

Box office top 10 Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

1. Shrek 2, $104.3 million.

2. Troy, $23.8 million.

3. Van Helsing, $10.1 million.

4. Mean Girls, $6.9 million.

5. Man on Fire, $3.5 million.

6. Breakin' All the Rules, $2.8 million.

7. 13 Going on 30, $2.5 million.

8. New York Minute, $1.1 million.

9. Kill Bill - Vol. 2, $1 million.

10. Super Size Me, $953,455.




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