In a lacklustre weekend, affected by good weather, Buena Vista International's comedy release Bringing Down The House was unable to unseat Warner Bros' The Matrix Reloaded from its lead position.
The Steve Martin-Queen Latifah comedy was the only new release able to make much impression on the box office over the sweltering weekend, taking $1.86m (£1.1m) from 388 sites - including previews of $425,728 (£259,694). The film grossed $146,401 (Euro 124,441) from 52 screens in Ireland.
Bringing Down The House opened second and scored Martin his biggest UK opening since Father Of The Bride 2 in February 1996, which took a three-day launch total of $1.9m (£1.2m) from 330 sites - also for BVI - before going on to earn $7m (£4.3m).
The actor's last big success was UIP's Bowfinger which claimed $1.5m (£896,983) from 260 sites on its opening weekend (Oct 22-24 1999) and scored a cumulative tally of $5.9m (£3.6m).
The Matrix Reloaded dropped off a massive 57% from its opening weekend this week but retained the lead with a still-strong $6.2m (£3.8m). The sci-fi actioner has taken $36m (£22m) in just 12 days and looks certain to rank among 2003's top earners come the end of the year.
20th Century Fox's blockbuster X2: X-Men United dropped 50% into third in its fifth week and has taken $32m (£19.5m) so far in the UK and Ireland. Meanwhile another Warner title, Kangaroo Jack, took up fourth place after a 41% fall off to bring in $508,889 (£310,422) for a running total of $4m (£2.4m) after three weekends.
The only other opener to make the chart was Entertainment Film Distributors' Ripley's Game which took fifth position with $400,749 (£244,457), but scored a poor $1,590 per location average from its 252 sites. The strong positive critical reception for the thriller and good word-of-mouth may help it improve in the coming weeks if the weather and a continuing string of higher profile Hollywood openers (Anger Management, Identity, 2 Fast 2 Furious) don't hold audiences away.
The only holdover to drop off less than 40% in the 15 was Metro Tartan's Secretary which fell 35% and jumped one place in the chart to make its debut in the UK top 10 with $129,097 (£78,749) from 56 sites. Steven Shainberg's film has now earned $928,169 (£566,183) from the independent distributor, making it the company's third biggest earner ever just behind 2000's In The Mood For Love - which took $928,290 (£566,257).
Playing well in its second week in Ireland was BVI's 25th Hour. The Irish run has delivered $123,860 (Euros 105,281) from 12 screens after 10 days helping the distributor to 16th position in the UK/Ireland table. The Spike Lee drama, which stars Edward Norton, is currently placed fifth in Ireland alone.