Shares in Sydney-based News Corp shot up on the Australian stock exchange on word of the spectacular performance of 20th Century Fox's Planet of the Apes at the North American box office over the weekend. The $69 million earned at the box office translated to a gain of about $2.58 billion (US$1.34 billion) in News Corp's market value. The film's success -- it was the biggest non-holiday premiere in history -- appeared to offset poor performances by such recent 20th Century Fox releases as Say It Isn't So and Monkeybone, both of which tanked, and Moulin Rouge, which merely disappointed. The studio saw a 34-percent drop in net profit during the company's third quarter, which ended on March 31. Ticket sales for the top 12 films jumped 18 percent to $143.5 versus the same weekend a year ago, according to box-office trackers Exhibitor Relations.
The top 10 films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Exhibitor Relations (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):
1. Planet of the Apes, 20th Century Fox, $68,532,960, (New); 2. Jurassic Park III, Universal, $22,542,645, ($124,824,290); 3. America's Sweethearts, Sony, $15,402,622, ($59,105,830); 4. Legally Blonde, MGM, $9,005,364, ($59,843,094); 5. The Score, Paramount, $7,053,201, ($49,139,109); 6. Doctor Dolittle 2, 20th Century Fox, $4,633,601, ($101,223,343); 7. Cats & Dogs, Warner Bros., $4,617,236, ($81,626,437); 8. The Fast and the Furious, Universal, $4,090,275, ($132,482,600); 9. Scary Movie 2, Miramax/Dimension, $2,717,900, ($67,201,319); 10. Shrek, DreamWorks, $1,792,718, ($255,526,280).