Cover Story

Taking Summer Stock

Pirates, Angels, and mutants: summer movie hits and misses. EW crunches the numbers to find out how the season's big flicks fared -- plus, six sleeper films you need to see

Hugh Jackman, X2: X-Men United | 'X'-EMPLARY Wolverine & Co. earned $215 million
Image credit: X-Men 2: Kerry Hayes
'X'-EMPLARY Wolverine & Co. earned $215 million

Box Office Winners

X2: X-Men United Fox Opening first has its benefits -- the mid-May release had two pre-''Matrix'' weekends, enabling it to storm past ''X1'' with $215 million.

Finding Nemo Disney The eye-popping fish tale not only outpaddled ''The Matrix Reloaded'' to become the summer's biggest U.S. hit but will soon swim past ''The Lion King'' as the top 'toon ever and is currently the 10th-highest grosser in U.S. history. The biggest winner: Pixar, now in a sweet position to renegotiate its deal with Disney.

Seabiscuit Universal Budgeted at about $86 million, this horse wasn't cheap, but a second-weekend slip of only 16 percent makes it look like smart summer counterprogramming.

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Dimension Who knew the combination of Sylvester Stallone and cardboard glasses was so appealing? Those sneaky kids pulled off the rare feat of reversing course on a fading franchise.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Disney The surprise smash of the summer, thanks to sharp humor (from two of the Oscar-nominated writers of ''Shrek'') and a deliciously devilish Johnny Depp. Get ready for ''Teacup Ride: The Motion Picture.''

The Matrix Reloaded Warner Bros. After its huge first week, should Neo have been able to reach $300 million before audiences said whoa? Perhaps. But at $719 million worldwide, the sequel is by far the biggest overall grosser of the summer and the biggest R-rated movie ever.

Bruce Almighty Universal After a disappointing foray into drama, Jim Carrey returns to form -- and finally helps Jennifer Aniston land a movie smash.

The Italian Job Paramount Surprisingly strong word of mouth (and snazzy MINI Coopers) allowed the heist thriller to nab close to $100 million.

28 Days Later Fox Searchlight The indie hit of the summer put a $10 million dent in ''Charlie's Angels 2'''s opening weekend, then freaked out enough fans to merit a return visit for the extra ending.

Bend It Like Beckham Fox Searchlight Fox's boutique-movie division confirmed its status as the hottest indie in the biz with a long-running girl-power anthem that scored most of its goals this summer.

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