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'Finding Nemo' back at the top

Arthur J Pais | June 17, 2003 16:56 IST

Neither Harrison Ford nor the Rugrats could make it to the top over the weekend as Finding Nemo, the delightful and utterly creative powerhouse of an animated film, reclaimed the top spot from 2 Fast 2 Furious.

A still from Finding NemoHollywood Homicide, starring Ford -- who, till recently, was a star who guaranteed a big opening -- took the second seat to Rugrats Go Wild!, the third film in the series.

While the animation film with Bruce Willis's voice opened at the third position with an estimated $12.5 million, Hollywood Homicide, which also features Josh Hartnett as the younger cop, grossed just about $11.7 million in the fourth position.

The film, about two cops who merrily moonlight even while investigating murders in a rap club, received mostly downbeat reviews, but a surprisingly strong one from The New York Times. It is directed by Ron Shelton, whose much smaller film, a dark cop drama called Dark Blue flunked the box office a few months ago.

Hollywood Homicide, which has plenty of comic relief, could be the first big budget flop of the summer, which is bad news for Ford, because his last outing, K-19, was an inglorious dud.

Kids are apparently more enthusiastic about Finding Nemo than the anaemic new Rugrats movie. With another much-awaited film Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas with the voices of Brad Pitt, Michelle Pfeiffer and Catherine Zeta-Jones opening on July 2, the Rugrats movie may not be around much longer.

The disappointing Rugrats Go Wild! narrates the story of the vacationing Rugrats and their parents being stranded on a deserted island and Tommy Pickles knowing there is only one man who can help them: Nigel Thornberry, the explorer.

With children persuading their parents to take them to see it again and again, Finding Nemo, which has grossed $192 million in 17 days, could become the biggest hit of the summer. Last week's champ 2 Fast 2 Furious fell to the second place, losing nearly two-thirds its audiences.

Most sci-fi and action-packed films lose about half their audiences in the second week, so the 62 per cent fall for 2 Fast 2 Furious is alarming. The film, which received some of the worst pans in memory, has set a record: director John Singleton, who won high critical praise for his smaller films such as Baby Boy, has become the highest grossing African American filmmaker, followed by Antoine Fuqua, whose 2001 Oscar-winning Training Day grossed about $80 million in North America.

The Jim Carrey-Morgan Freeman comedy Bruce Almighty was the third highest grossing film of the week. By next Sunday, both Bruce Almighty and Finding Nemo would have crossed the $200 million benchmark, with plenty of life ahead. There are strong indications that Nemo could swim past the $300 million mark.

Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston in Bruce AlmightyThe third newcomer of the week in a wide release, the comedy Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, also opened to rather cold numbers. Occupying the fifth position immediately above the sturdy The Italian Job (which has grossed a neat $55 million in three weeks), the comedy adventure will have a rough time ahead.

Dumb and Dumberer, which lives up to its title, not only faces competition from Bruce Almighty, but a raft of lighter films that will be released soon. Among them is Legally Blonde 2: Red, White And Blonde, in which Reese Witherspoon returns as attorney Elle Woods. The movie opens on July 2.

Matrix Reloaded still has plenty of fuel left, but it is unlikely to reach the $300 million mark. It was the eighth highest grosser of the week, followed by the comedy Daddy Day Care, which -- while it has become a certified hit -- is struggling to reach $100 million.

The US Box Office this week:

This weekFilmWeekend gross

Total gross

Number of

Finding Nemo

$29 million (down 38 per cent from previous weekend)$192.3 million3
22 Fast 2 Furious$19 million (down 62 per cent from previous weekend)$84 million 2
3Bruce Almighty$14 million (down 37 per cent from previous weekend)$193 million4
4Rugrats Go Wild!$12 million$12 millionNew
5Hollywood Homicide$11.7 million$11.7 millionNew
6Dumb And Dumberer$11.1 million$11.1 millionNew
7The Italian Job$9.5 million (down 30 per cent from previous weekend)$55 million3
8The Matrix Reloaded$5.5 million (down 41 per cent from previous weekend)$257 million5
9Daddy Day Care$2.1 million (down 55 per cent from previous weekend)$91 million6
10X2: X-Men United$1.6 million (down 47 per cent from previous weekend)$207 million7


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