Despite the success of Paramount's The Italian Job, the hit which offers a number of thrilling rides through busy streets, Universal Pictures' 2 Fast 2 Furious, which is set against the theme of street-racing, enjoyed a powerful opening. Though the film was deplored by most major publications, it tore through the competition to the top spot, earning an estimated $52 million. Most of the people associated with the prequel, Fast And Furious, including director Rob Cohen, star Vin Diesel and rap artist Ja Rule were absent in the second film. And yet the crime thriller, directed by John Singleton, created a tremendous amount of buzz and must-see fever.
Singleton is better known for gritty and acclaimed minor hits like Baby Boy, BoyZ N The Hood and Shaft. But 2 Fast 2 Furious will certainly be the biggest hit of his decade-long career.
In the new film, which shifts location to Miami from the earlier film's Los Angeles, a disgraced cop Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) looks for redemption when he teams up with his ex-con pal Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) to transport a shipment of dirty money for shady Miami-based businessman Carter Verone (Cole Hauser). But, in reality, O'Conner and his pal are working with undercover agent Monica Clemente (Eva Mendes) to nab Verone.
While The New York Times' A O Scott called the film '...among the most lethargic action movies I have ever seen...' and Los Angeles Times' Manohla Dargis complained '2 Fast 2 Furious sputters without an essential fuel source: Diesel,' a handful of critics gave the film a passing grade. In San Francisco Chronicle, C W Nevius wrote 'Well, as expected, director John Singleton did not make a movie as good as Fast And Furious. This is way better.'
Many box office observers expect 2 Fast 2 Furious to have a big fall in the second week. But even if it tumbles 50 per cent each week, it may still end up with a powerful $140 million; the first film made almost that much about three years ago in North America.
Despite the 2 Fast 2 Furious onslaught, hits from the previous week held very well. Showing excellent lung power, the underwater sentimental saga, Finding Nemo, was the second highest grossing film, with a $45 million weekend gross, and a total of $145 million. The film, which explores the bond between a father and his son, is also appealing to significant number of adults.
Universal Pictures, which is expecting another big hit in the Ang Lee directed Marvel comics inspired The Hulk -- which opens June 20 -- continues earning big bucks from the comedy Bruce Almighty, the third highest grossing film of the week. The Jim Carrey comedy reaped $21 million in its third weekend and a heavenly $145 million gross. Many American comedies do not do as well abroad but Bruce Almighty seems to be an exception. It opened at the top position in many countries. In a few overseas territories, its strongest competitor is Ashok Amritraj's comedy Bringing Down The House which ends its American run with a strong $135 million gross.
Comedies continue having a ball at the North American box office with Daddy Dare Care, which resurrected Eddie Murphy's career and is inching towards $100 million, and Bend It Like Beckham. But the Michael Douglas-Albert Brooks The In-Laws is going home with few wedding gifts.
Despite the big challenge from 2 Fast 2 Furious, the Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton and Charilze Theron starring heist drama, The Italian Job, is headed for a healthy $75 million gross.
Though it has emerged as one of the most profitable films in recent times, The Matrix: Reloaded (Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne) has been rapidly losing altitude. Despite its huge opening, it looks destined for a strong but far from sensational $275 million gross. This weekend, it began showing on about 40 Imax screens.
Still playing in over 2,000 theaters in its sixth week, the Fox hit X2: X-Men United (Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart) has grossed $204 million. The movie, which has also shaped into a big hit abroad and has grossed as much as its domestic take, would be around for at least four more weeks. It was the seventh highest grossing film of the week.
Gurinder Chadha's sleeper hit comedy Bend It Like Beckham (Parminder Nagra), which has been hovering around the Top 10 chart for several weeks, once again inched into the 10th position. The film, which is showing in about 450 theaters (while every other film on the top 10 chart is showing in more than 2,000 theaters) declined by less than 10 per cent from the previous week, the smallest drop on the chart.
The box office this week:
|This week||Film||Weekend gross||
2 Fast 2 Furious
|$52 million||$52 million||New|
|2||Finding Nemo||$45.8 million («35 per cent from previous weekend)||$143.3 million||1|
|3||Bruce Almighty||$21.7 million (« 41 per cent from previous weekend)||$170.8 million||2|
|4||The Italian Job||$13.3 million (« 32 per cent from previous weekend)||$40.1 million||1|
|5||The Matrix: Reloaded||$9.1 million (« 42 per cent from previous weekend)||$247.6 million||3|
|6||Daddy Day Care||$4.8 million (« 29 per cent from previous weekend)||$88.6 million||4|
|7||X2: X-Men United||$3 million (« 41 per cent from previous weekend)||$204 million||5|
|8||Wrong Turn||$2.6 million (« 48 per cent from previous weekend)||$9.7 million||1|
|9||The In-Laws||$2 million (« 47 per cent from previous weekend)||$17.9million||2|
|10||Bend It Like Beckham||$9.8 million (« 9 per cent from previous weekend)||$20.5 million||11|