Chart-topping Austin Powers in Goldmember recorded a career-high $71.5m opening for its star Mike Myers over the weekend, becoming the biggest ever comedy and July opening, the fifth highest opening of all time and best ever opening for studio New Line, according to estimates released today. Despite this impressive figure the $133m overall box office for the top 12 pictures dropped around 7% from the same period last year. It was the second consecutive weekend drop although the year-to-date total is still ahead of 2001.

Austin Powers In Goldmember, the third in the spy spoof franchise written by and starring Myers and directed by Jay Roach, sees the Canadian comic's bespectacled hero lock horns with the familiarly hapless cast of villains and one new addition - the eponymous Goldmember. Michael Caine and Destiny's Child singer Beyonce Knowles play Powers' father and sidekick respectively. The picture opened to so-so reviews but took $75m including Thursday previews.

The previous best July opening was last year's Planet of the Apes on $68.5m, while Rush Hour 2, also last year, was the previous biggest comedy and best New Line opening with $67.4m. Myers' previous best was the second Austin Powers instalment, The Spy Who Shagged Me, which opened in 1999 and took $54.9m.

The dethroned DreamWorks SKG gangster drama Road To Perdition slipped to second on $11m and has taken $65.6m after 17 days. Stuart Little 2 fell one place to third for Columbia with $10.7m. After three weeks the Columbia family sequel has a disappointing total of $34.8m. Columbia stablemate Men In Black II (MIIB) took $8.7m in its fourth weekend and fell one place to fourth. The sci-fi sequel has grossed a terrific $173.6m since being released. K-19: The Widowmaker would love to borrow some of MIIB's success - Intermedia's submarine thriller may star Harrison Ford but it continued to sink below the line of expectation with a paltry $7.3m haul in its second week that means the $100m production has grossed only $25m after 10 days.

Buena Vista's The Country Bears opened in sixth place on $5.2m. The TV adaptation about a family of bears received awful reviews. Two pictures bounced back into the top 10: Fox's Minority Report finished ninth with a $3.13m haul that brings its total after six weeks to $123.28m, while IFC's My Big Fat Greek Wedding finished tenth on $3m and has taken $35.4m after 15 weeks on release. Next weekend's releases include Buena Vista's Signs, the latest supernatural outing from Sixth Sense director M Night Shyamalan, and Steven Soderbergh's comedy Full Frontal for Miramax, which stars Julia Roberts and David Duchovny.


Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date

1 (-) Austin Powers In Goldmember (New Line) New Line International $71.45m $75.m

2 (1) Road To Perdition (DreamWorks SKG) Fox $11m $65.6m

3 (2) Stuart Little 2 (Columbia) Columbia TriStar $10.7m $34.8m

4 (3) Men In Black II (Columbia) Columbia TriStar $8.7m $173.6m

5 (4) K-19: The Widowmaker (Paramount) UIP $7.33m $25.02m

6 (-) The Country Bears (Buena Vista) BVI $5.2m --

7 (6) Mr. Deeds (Columbia) Columbia TriStar $4.2m $116.1m

8 (5) Reign Of Fire (Buena Vista) Spyglass/BVI $3.3m $36.3m

9 (11) Minority Report (Fox) Fox $3.13m $123.28m

10 (14) My Big Fat Greek Wedding (IFC) Vortex Pictures $3.01m $35.42m