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.

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