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.