No date to remember for “Harbor”

Besieged by critics on Friday, Pearl Harbor failed to draw the record crowds that many analysts had predicted over the Memorial Day weekend. Although several box-office forecasters had predicted a $100-million weekend for the $135-million Disney feature, actual ticket sales for the first two days of the weekend amounted to $39.7 million, with rival studios estimating that the movie would earn another $16 million on Sunday. (Disney said that it would issue an estimate for the entire four-day weekend on Tuesday.) While a gross of $56 million would represent a strong opening under any definition, it falls short of the $72 million raked in by The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which earned $72 million at the box office during the first three days of the Memorial Day weekend in 1997. It also fails to surpass the $68.1-million opening of The Mummy Returns earlier this month, as well as the $64.8-million debut of Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in 1999. Nevertheless, Disney expressed delight with the results and suggested that predictions that it would earn $100 million were “mathematically impossible.” “It’s never, ever been possible to do a $100-million weekend [with a three-hour film],” Disney distribution chief Chuck Viane told the New York Times.

The top 10 films for the 3-day weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

1. Pearl Harbor, $56 million; 2. Shrek, $42.6 million; 3. The Mummy Returns, $15.0 million; 4. A Knight’s Tale, $8.0 million; 5. Angel Eyes, $5.0 million; 6. Bridget Jones’s Diary, $3.1 million; 7. Along Came a Spider, $1.7 million; 8. Memento, $1.5 million; 9. Spy Kids, $1.1 million; 10. Driven, $1.0 million.