Two more blockbusters passed the US domestic $100m mark this week. However, this summer is in danger of following last year's pattern of providing a couple of early pace setters followed by a series of 'one-week wonders'.
Steven Spielberg's Minority Report passed the $100m mark on Tuesday, becoming the director's 11th film to do so. The film is star Tom Cruise's 10th $100m hit, equalling Harrison Ford's record.
This was followed on Wednesday by Men In Black II which became the eighth film this year to pass $100m in the US - the others being Ice Age, Spider-Man, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones, The Sum Of All Fears, Scooby-Doo and Lilo & Stitch.
Now MIIB is in the spotlight to see if it can break a pattern established with last year's 'single-week summer'. 2001 became infamous for the number one position changing hands on a weekly basis.
Between Pearl Harbor's two-week domination over the May 25-28 and June 1-3 weekends and American Pie 2's claim on Aug 10-12 and 17-19 - came nine other titles in quick succession - each seeing large percentage drops on their second weekends. Even Pearl Harbor (61%) and American Pie 2 (53%) saw massive drops on their second week but held the top spot due to no strong competition from new releases.
Reasons offered for this phenomenon were diverse. Whether it was the lack of quality films, just a crowded summer or that the growth of multiplexes meant that a film could be released on so many prints that a far larger audience than before could see it on the opening weekend, is a debate that remains unresolved. The question remains whether 2002 will follow suit.
After the early success of Spider-Man and Episode II (comparable to 2001's Shrek and The Mummy Returns pre-June releases) June has seen a succession of films at the top of the US chart. Paramount's The Sum Of All Fears was the last title to manage two weeks (May 31-June 2 and June 7-9) and was followed on consecutive weekends by Scooby-Doo, Minority Report, Mr Deeds and last week Men In Black II.
With the summer schedule just as crowded this year, it appears that this phenomenon could become the norm. Analysts are now looking to MIIB to break the rhythm.
However, the Sony film faces stiff competition from DreamWorks Tom Hanks drama Road To Perdition and potential summer dark horse Buena Vista's Reign Of Fire. But even if it dropped off 50% from its opening three-day weekend it would still manage $26m which could be enough to hold off the challengers.
If MIIB doesn't hold to its position at the top, the cycle could repeat itself all over again: July 19 offers Stuart Little 2 and Harrison Ford starrer K19: The Widowmaker. July 26 has Austin Powers In Goldmember (The Spy Who Shagged Me lost out to Tarzan in its second week on release in 1999) and Aug 2 offers M Night Shyamalan's Signs, starring Mel Gibson.
Then August 9 launches Sony's Vin Diesel-Samuel L. Jackson action title XXX and Robert Rodriguez's Spy Kids 2 (the sequel to one of last year's $100m hits).
But whatever the trajectory of the summer's opening weekend grosses, there is guaranteed to be a season's worth of blockbusters that will see many more $100m hits.