Vengeance was the ticket atthe weekend as Miramax's Kill Bill Vol 2 opened on a company record estimated at $25.6m while Lions Gate'sMarvel Comics adaptation The Punisher came in second on $14m.
The concluding part ofQuentin Tarantino's revenge saga opened to superb reviews and averaged $8,604from 2,971 theatres.
Uma Thurman continues whereshe left off as the betrayed assassin hell-bent on killing her formercolleagues and the picture also stars David Carradine, Daryl Hannah and MichaelMadsen.
Miramax chief operatingofficer Rick Sands said the exit polls were strong and the story's lessviolent, broader perspective appealed to a wide demographic. Kill Bill Vol 1 opened in October on $22.1m and went on to make$69.9m.
In The Punisher, a dark take on the comic book series, Thomas Janeplays an ex-FBI agent who turns vigilante after his family is wiped out by akingpin.
John Travolta and RebeccaRomijn-Stamos star in Armageddonscreenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh's directorial debut, which garnered poorreviews and averaged $5,285 from 2,649 sites.
Newmarket's The PassionOf The Christ began its slide out ofthe charts in its eighth week, falling an estimated 72% and eight places toninth on $4.2m for $360.9m.
Fox Searchlight's JohnsonFamily Vacation stayed in third on$6.4m for $21.5m while Columbia/Revolution's Hellboy crossed $50m in its thirdweek, slipping two to fourth on $5.7m for $50.4m.
Universal/Spyglass's comedy ConnieAnd Carla flopped in 13th place on$3.3m. The $27m buddy movie stars Nia Vardalos and Toni Collette and wasdirected by Michael Lembeck. It drew mixed reviews.
Overall box office for thetop 12 pictures combined for a lacklustre $86.7m, down 2% on the same periodlast year.
Next weekend's wide releasesinclude Columbia/Revolution's comedy 13 Going On 30 starring Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo and 20thCentury Fox's drama Man On Fire,which stars Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning.
Estimated Top Ten US Apr16-18 2004
Film(Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date
1 (-) Kill Bill Vol 1 (Miramax) Miramax International/BVI $25.6m -
2 (-) The Punisher (Lions Gate) Summit/Columbia TriStar $14m -
3 (3) Johnson FamilyVacation (Fox Searchlight) FoxInternational $6.4m $21.5m
4 (2) Hellboy (Columbia/Revolution) Columbia TriStar $5.7m $50.4m
5 (6) Home On The Range (Buena Vista) BVI $5.4m $37.7m
6 (7) Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (Warner Bros) Warner Bros Intl $5.1m $72.2m
7 (5) Walking Tall (MGM) 20th Century Fox/Hyde Park $4.6m $36.6m
8 (9) Ella Enchanted (Miramax) Miramax International $4.4m $13.8m
9 (1) The Passion Of TheChrist (Newmarket) Icon EntertainmentInternational $4.2m $360.9m
10 (4) The Alamo (Buena Vista) BVI $4.1m $16.3m