The sweet-natured fable Shrek 2 easily torpedoed the anti-war epic Troy on Wednesday.
DreamWorks, the makers of the computer-animated Shrek 2, announced that the film, which expertly uses the voices of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas and Julie Andrews, grossed $11.8 million on its opening day across North America.
"This was a spectacular opening and one that exceeded all our expectations," DreamWorks head of distribution Jim Tharp said in a statement. He also said the studio expected the film to have a 'very strong' weekend. Industry observers now expect the film to haul $85-$95 million in five days.
With no other big new film releasing this week, Shrek 2 should have a solid first week.
Its first day opening was a record for an animated film released midweek, pushing Troy to second position. Troy, starring Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom and Peter O'Toole, is also shaping into a hit. It grossed $3.2 million on
Wednesday, the sixth day of its release.
But Shrek 2, which ended nearly a year of a fallow period for DreamWorks, is expected to be a far bitter hit than Troy. Many industry observers expect it to gross at least $250 million in North America, while Troy, one of the most expensive films in Hollywood ($180 million), could end up with about $160 million.
The first Shrek, released three years ago, earned about $265 million in North America and over $220 million abroad.
Shrek 2, in which the big green ogre Shrek and his new bride fight those who cannot tolerate people who are either ugly or look different than an average human being, received mostly positive reviews.
Some reviewers felt the new film, despite its entertaining episodes, bright look, and great voice performances, especially by Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas, could not match the first one.
"Although the plot shows strain," Hollywood Reporter wrote, "this sequel is a fun and funny follow-up to an original work of genius." New York Post was far more effusive: "The stunningly detailed computer animation is a quantum leap over the work in the original, which won the first Oscar for Best Animated Feature."
But San Francisco Chronicle was not amused. "It is a slightly zombie-like version, with the size, look and shape of the original movie," its review declared, "but without its lightness or spirit, its soul."
USA Today had no problems with the film. "Just as funny, sweet and engaging as the first film," its review said.