Box Office Report

'Finding' Success

''Finding Nemo'' makes a splash at No. 1 -- In its first week, the Disney/Pixar film became the biggest opening ever for an animated movie

Finding Nemo | WATER WORLD ''Nemo'' is the highest debut for an animated film
Image credit: Finding Nemo: PIXAR/Disney
WATER WORLD ''Nemo'' is the highest debut for an animated film

Fish were the most popular item on the box office menu this weekend, as ''Finding Nemo'' swam straight into the record books with a $70.6 million debut, according to studio estimates.

''Nemo'''s big splash makes it the biggest opening ever for an animated film, beating the $62.6 million ''Monsters, Inc.'' earned in 2001. Both films were produced by Pixar and released by Disney. That team also boasts the No. 3 animated opening, ''Toy Story 2.'' Obviously families were eager to support the first quality kid-friendly film of the summer season. Fantastic reviews and standout voice performances from Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks certainly helped. With strong follow-up weekends, ''Nemo'' could top $200 million.

After premiering last weekend, Jim Carrey's comedy ''Bruce Almighty'' fell 48 percent from the three-day portion of the Memorial Day holiday to $35.6 million. Though it's earned $135.7 million after only 10 days, the drop is significant and indicates that ''Bruce'' may top out before reaching the $200 million mark.

Third place, meanwhile, went to the new thriller ''The Italian Job,'' starring Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, and Charlize Theron, with $19.3 million. That figure pales in comparison to last summer's similarly themed ''The Bourne Identity,'' which premiered with $27.1 million. Apparently Matt Damon is a bigger draw than fellow Bostonian Wahlberg.

''The Matrix Reloaded'' took another huge dive, plummeting 58 percent to only $15 million in its third weekend, bringing its total to $232.1 million. The Keanu Reeves sequel might not be able to reach $300 million after all. And Eddie Murphy's ''Daddy Day Care'' felt the effect of ''Finding Nemo,'' dropping 51 percent to $6.8 million, good enough for fifth place. After four weeks, it's grossed $82 million.

The week's other new release, the horror thriller ''Wrong Turn,'' managed a seventh place debut with only $5 million, about what was expected for the scarefest, which stars Eliza Dushku, Desmond Harrington, and Jeremy Sisto. The moral of the weekend: Without fish, you're nothing.

Originally posted Jun 01, 2003
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