Warner Bros.' highly anticipated sci-fi sequel The Matrix Reloaded crushed the competition at the box office with a mind-bending five-day take of $135.7 million*, making it the second best weekend opening of all time. The megahyped actioner also set a new record for the biggest consecutive four-day domestic box office gross in cinema history with $134.3 million, became the highest grossing R-rated film ever and broke the one-day box office record on its formal opening day, with $42.5 million. Reloaded premiered on about 2,750 screens across the country Wednesday night--two hours before its nationwide release Thursday in some 3,603 theaters with a record 8,517 prints. But its early release could also be why it failed to beat Sony Picture's Spider-Man's still-standing record as the best weekend opener of all time.Reloaded went on to gross $93.2 million Friday through Sunday, which was not enough to defeat Spider-Man's record three-day haul of $114.8 million. The previous No. 2 spot was held by Warner's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone with $90.3 million.Still, Reloaded managed to sell out most evening showtimes despite its restrictive rating, which many industry insiders believed would lessen its chance to reach a broad audience. With the highest playdate count of any R-rated film, Reloaded blew away the previous record for the best opening for an R rated pic, held by Universal's horror sequel Hannibal, which raked in $58 million in its opening weekend in February 2001."This just shows that ratings matter to a point, but if people want to see the movie, they're going to see the movie," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Exhibitor Relations Co. told The Associated Press Sunday. "It was review proof and it was ratings proof." "You had a whole legion of fans under 17 whose parents were obviously willing to take them to see this movie," he added. "You can almost call this an R-rated family film."Other R-rated blockbusters opening this summer, including Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Bad Boys II and American Wedding--the third installment in the American Pie trilogy--will no doubt see Reloaded's weighty box office take as a positive sign. THE TOP TENWarner Bros.' R rated sci-fi sequel The Matrix Reloaded easily debuted at the top of the box office with an ESTIMATED three-day take $93.2 million at 3,603 theaters. The film's $25,884 per theater average was the highest of any film playing this weekend. Its cume is approximately $135.7 million.In the trilogy's second installment, Neo, Trinity and Morpheus continue their battle against the Machines both in and out of the Matrix as mankind has just 72 hours before the destruction of the human city of Zion. Directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, it stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving.Sony Pictures' PG-rated Daddy Day Care remained in the No. 2 spot in its second week with an ESTIMATED $19.2 million (-30%) at 3,408 theaters (+38 theaters, $5,634 per theater). Its cume is approximately $51.3 million.Directed by Steve Carr, it stars Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin, Steve Zahn, Regina King and Anjelica Huston. Lats week's box office topper, 20th Century Fox's comic book sequel X2: X-Men United skipped second place and went straight to No. 3 in its third week of release with an ESTIMATED $17.1 million (-57%) at 3,489 theaters (-260 theaters, $4,910 per theater average). Its cume is approximately $174 million, heading towards the $200 million mark.Directed by Bryan Singer, it stars Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos.In fourth place is 20th Century Fox's PG-13 romantic comedy Down With Love, which debuted in one New York theater last week and expanded into 2,123 theaters this week with an ESTIMATED $ 7.5 million, with a $3,573 per theater average. Its cume is approximately $7.6 million.The film, an homage to Doris Day/Rock Hudson movies, follows a feminist writer who knocks heads with a playboy journalist. Directed by Peyton Reed, it stars Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor and David Hyde Pierce.Buena Vista's PG rated The Lizzie McGuire Movie fell two notches to fifth place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $4.5 million (-38%) at 2,825 theaters (-167 theaters, $1,693 per theater). Its cume is approximately $32.1 million.Directed by Jim Fall, it stars Hilary Duff, Adam Lamberg and Yani Gellman.*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.Sony Pictures' PG-13 rated comedy Anger Management fell one rung to No. 6 in its sixth week with an ESTIMATED $3.6 million (-37%) at 2,476 theaters (-343 theaters, $1,454 per theater). Its cume is approximately $128.3million.Directed by Peter Segal, it stars Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson, Marisa Tomei and John Turturro.Sony Pictures' R-rated psychological thriller Identity dropped three places in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $3.4 million (-48%) at 2,196 theaters (-422, $1,548 per theater). Its cume is approximately $44.8 million.Directed by James Mangold, it stars John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, Rebecca DeMornay and Alfred Molina. Buena Vista's PG rated teen comedy Holes fell from sixth to eighth place in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $3 million (-38%) at 2,232 theaters (-220 theaters, $1,344 per theater). Its cume is approximately $45 million.Directed by Andrew Davis, it stars Rick Fox, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Tim Blake Nelson and Shia LeBeouf. Warner Bros. PG-13 A Mighty Wind, dropped from seventh to No. 9 in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $1.7 million (-42%) at 770 theaters (+5 theaters; $2,253 per theater). Its cume is approximately $12.1 million. Directed by and starring Christopher Guest, it also stars Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Bob Balaban, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara and more. Rounding out the Top Ten is Fox Searchlight's PG-13 rated Bend It Like Beckham. The soccer comedy fell one notch in its tenth week of release stateside with an ESTIMATED $1.5 million (-13%) at 553 theaters (-2 theaters, $2,731 per theater). Its cume is approximately 15.1 million.Directed Gurinder Chadha, it stars Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.OTHERSMiramax Film's G rated animated sequel Pokémon Heroes opened with an ESTIMATED $225,000 at 196 theaters ($1,148 per theater).This is the fifth in the series of Japanese anime films including: Pokemon The First Movie (1999), Pokemon The Movie 2000 (2000), Pokemon 3 The Movie: Spell of the Unknown (2001) and Pokemon 4Ever (2002). Lion Gate's R rated prison drama Sweet Sixteen, meanwhile, debuted in three theaters with an ESTIMATED $30,000, with an impressive $10,000 per theater average.The film revolves around a young teen struggling to realize his dream in the gritty streets of Glasgow while waiting for his mother's release from prison.Directed by Ken Loach, it stars Martin Compston, William Ruane, Annmarie Fulton and Michelle Abercromby.WEEKEND COMPARISONThe Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $156 million, up a whopping 52.3 percent from last week when they totaled $102.4 million.The Top 12 were down about 4 percent from last year when they totaled $162.6 million.Last year, Fox's PG rated Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones premiered at the top of the box office with $80 million at 3,161 theaters ($25,317 per theater); Sony's PG-13 rated Spider-Man came in second in its third week with with $45 million at 3,615 theaters ($12,458 per theater); and Fox's R rated Unfaithful came in third in its second week with $10 million at 2,624 theaters ($3,816 per theater).
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As expected, Variety reports Rosie O'Donnell has countersued the magazine publisher Gruner+Jahr in response to a suit the publishers filed Tuesday, alleging O'Donnell's "unilateral and wholly unjustified abandonment" of her magazine, Rosie. They are asking for $100 million in damages. O'Donnell's suit claims it was G+J who breached their contract and forced her to leave the magazine that bears her name and brand. O'Donnell's attorney Mary Jo White told Variety, "When all the facts come out in the course of litigation, we're confident that a court will find that Rosie's decision to terminate the agreement with G+J was justified by G+J's misconduct, and that the court will award her significant monetary relief."
In an effort to boost himself back up to the A-list, Nicolas Cage has dumped his longtime Brillstein-Gray manager Gerry Harrington. Cage's films of late (i.e., Captain Corelli's Mandolin and Windtalkers) have tanked at the box office. "While I appreciate the friendship, support and professional guidance that Gerry has provided me for the past 12 years, I have made the decision to continue without management," Cage told Variety. Smart move, Nic.
Spider-Man's Kirsten Dunst will join Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a new film from screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich). Variety reports the film will once again explore the recesses of the brain as a man (Carrey) tries to have a steamy ex-relationship erased completely from his mind. Dunst will play a receptionist who gets caught up in the memory elimination process.
Antonio Banderas will star as Pancho Villa in the HBO Films production And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself, focusing on a real-life incident in 1914 when Villa sold the rights to his life story to the movie industry to help raise funds for the 1910-1917 Mexican Revolution. U.S. filmmakers shot actual battles for the silent film The Life of Pancho Villa.
British director Ken Loach is encouraging teenagers to break the law to see his movie. He told London's Daily Telegraph that the "18" rating he received from the British Board of Film Classification for his new film Sweet Sixteen is completely unjustified. The rating bars those under 18 from seeing the film, which uses graphic language in its realistic depiction of a teenager who gets involved in the Glasgow, Scotland, crime and drug culture.
American Idol co-host Brian Dunkleman will not be returning for a second season of the hit reality series. The stand-up comic's reps had been talking to Fox about a deal but Dunkleman's spokeswoman told Variety he has decided to pursue other opportunities. The other co-host, Ryan Seacrest, will be returning for more Idol fun as will judge Simon Cowell.
James Brown may lose his $400,000 home and property on Beech Island off the coast of South Carolina. In a lawsuit won by SouthTrust Bank, the Godfather of Soul has been ordered to repay a $900,000 loan he borrowed to buy a building in Augusta, Ga., in 10 days or the bank will cash in on Brown's assets, including his house. The singer can, however, stop the process if he sells the building for the same amount as the debt.
MTV News reports the 9/11 benefit single "What More Can I Give," which was recorded a year ago by Michael Jackson (with Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and others) is finally getting airplay--even though its not supposed to. New York station WKTU-FM has been playing the song for a week, even though Sony Music Entertainment has never released it. WKTU's programming director refuses to say how the station got the song.
Les Miserables is leaving the Great White Way after a 16-year run. Get the full story at our sister site, www.broadway.com.