Dave Karger
August 01, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Millions of ”Village” people rushed to their local multiplexes this weekend, making M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller the No. 1 film at the box office.

”The Village” debuted with $50.8 million in its first three days, according to studio estimates — surpassing the $30.3 million opening of Shyamalan’s ”Unbreakable” in 2000, but falling short of the $60.1 million tally for his 2002 smash ”Signs.”

Blame the lower figure on ”The Village”’s relative lack of star power (”Signs” costar Joaquin Phoenix was back, but without Mel Gibson this time) and its largely negative reviews. In fact, whereas most films see larger grosses on Saturday, ”The Village” slipped from $20.8 million to $17.4 million from Friday to Saturday, often a sign of less-than-stellar word of mouth.

As expected, ”The Bourne Supremacy” claimed the No. 2 spot, falling 55 percent to $23.4 million in its second weekend. After 10 days, Matt Damon’s sequel to ”The Bourne Identity” has already grossed $98.1 million.

Denzel Washington’s remake of ”The Manchurian Candidate” premiered in third place with a respectable $20.2 million. As an adult draw, it should see smaller drops in subsequent weeks, similar to the sleeper hit ”The Notebook.”

The action films ”I, Robot” and ”Spider-Man 2” rounded out the top five with $10.1 million and $8.5 million, respectively, meaning the weekend’s two other new wide releases failed to join that elusive group. The teen comedy ”Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” managed only $5.2 million for seventh place, while the family film ”Thunderbirds” flopped miserably with $2.7 million, placing 12th. To borrow a catchphrase from the film’s heroes, that’s not so ”F-A-B.”

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