20th Century Fox claimed the top spot at the North American box office in the week that studio chief Bill Mechanic resigned his post. But the $24.2m opening for grossout comedy Me, Myself & Irene could be considered a disappointment for the studio which had been heralding the picture as a surefire summer winner.
Reuniting Jim Carrey and writer/directors Peter & Bobby Farrelly who last worked together in 1994's Dumb And Dumber, the film pales in comparison to other Carrey openers such as Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Batman Forever, Liar Liar and The Truman Show. The "R"-rated picture did open better than There's Something About Mary, the last Fox/Farrellys film which took $13.7m in its first weekend in summer 1997 and ended up at $176m. However the word-of-mouth which drove that film is unlikely to grace this one which was generally disliked by critics.
Meanwhile Fox's animated epic Titan AE tumbled 61% in its second weekend to take $3.7m. Its ten day total is a mere $16.9m. Fox still has two more summer movies ahead - Bryan Singer's comic book epic X-Men (July 14) and Harold Ramis' remake of Bedazzled starring Brendan Fraser.
Playing on 3,020 screens, Me, Myself & Irene scored a per screen average of $8,013 - the highest in the top ten - and higher than Chicken Run, which took an average of $7,025 on 2,491 screens.
The acclaimed Aardman-produced clay-mation movie took an estimated $17.5m - the highest opening yet for an animated film released by DreamWorks SKG. The previous record was held by Antz which took $17.2m in Oct 1998.
Meanwhile Mission: Impossible 2 soared past the $181m total of its predecessor Mission: Impossible. In its fifth weekend, the Tom Cruise actioner took $8m, bringing its total to $189.3m; it is now set to become the first $200m film of the year.
Next weekend - Fourth Of July weekend - should fire up the box office with the openings of SPE's The Patriot, Warner Bros' The Perfect Storm and Universal's The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle.
ESTIMATED TOP TEN US JUNE 23-25
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (-) Me Myself & Irene (20th Century Fox) Fox International $24.2m --
2 (-) Chicken Run (DreamWorks SKG) UIP/Pathe $17.5m --
3 (1) Shaft (Paramount) UIP $13.3m $42.9m
4 (2) Gone In 60 Seconds (Buena Vista) BVI $9.5m $68.9m
5 (3) Big Momma's House (20th Century Fox) Fox International $8.7m $85.4m
6 (4) Mission: Impossible 2 (Paramount) UIP $8m $189.3m
7 (8) Gladiator (DreamWorks SKG) Universal/UIP $4m $165.6m
8 (5) Titan AE (20th Century Fox) Fox International $3.7m $16.9m
9 (7) Dinosaur (Buena Vista) BVI $3.5m $127m
10 (6) Boys And Girls (Miramax) Miramax International $3.1m