Cats And Dogs beat Scary Movie 2 - just - to the top spot at the North American box office over the weekend, but business was not on the mega-levels generated by last year's battle between The Perfect Storm and The Patriot.
Opening on Wednesday - the July the 4th holiday itself - Cats And Dogs grossed $35.7m in five days and $21.67m over the Friday to Saturday weekend itself. Scary Movie 2 took $34.5m over the five days and $21m over the three day weekend.
Last year, The Perfect Storm took $41.3m in just three days and $64m in five days, while The Patriot managed $22.4m in three days and $31.7m in five days.
Both badly reviewed by critics, Cats And Dogs and Scary Movie 2 fell way below previous openers from this season including The Fast And The Furious, Tomb Raider, The Mummy Returns, Pearl Harbor and Shrek.
Although Scary Movie 2 was budgeted in the $40m region, Dimension Films, the releasing label of Miramax Films, is nevertheless looking at a profitable hit in its parody sequel. If it hits $100m, it will be the second Dimension title of the year to do so after Spy Kids.
Meanwhile Warner Bros had the top spot in Cats And Dogs but also the third spot with AI Artificial Intelligence. In its second weekend on release, AI - which is sharply dividing audiences - took $14.1m for a ten day total of $59.7m. It is not certain at this stage that the Steven Spielberg-directed sci-fi epic will cross the $100m mark. It could be Spielberg's 11th film to do so.
20th Century Fox had a strong opening for its French-backed pick-up Kiss Of The Dragon, a generally well-reviewed martial arts actioner starring Jet Li and Bridget Fonda. The film, to which Fox has a few key territories and Buena Vista International much of the rest of the world, took $13.6m over the three-day weekend. Unlike Cats And Dogs and Scary Movie 2, it opened on Friday.
Universal's surprise hit The Fast And The Furious continued to score with audiences, taking $12.4m in its third weekend. It crossed the $100m mark over the weekend and is the seventh film of the year to hit that watershed. The others are Hannibal, Spy Kids, The Mummy Returns, Shrek, Pearl Harbor and Tomb Raider.
ESTIMATED TOP TEN US JULY 6-8
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (-) Cats And Dogs (Warner Bros) Warner Bros $21.7m $35.7m
2 (-) Scary Movie 2 (Dimension) Miramax International $21m $34.5m
3 (1) AI Artificial Intelligence (Warner Bros) Warner Bros $14.1m $59.7m
4 (-) Kiss Of The Dragon (20th Century Fox) Europa/BVI $13.6m --
5 (2) The Fast And The Furious (Universal) UIP $12.4m $101.5m
6 (3) Dr Dolittle 2 (20th Century Fox) Fox International $10.1m $71.5m
7 (4) Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (Paramount) Mutual Film Co/UIP $6.8m $115.6m
8 (7) Shrek (DreamWorks SKG) UIP $6m $240m
9 (6) Atlantis: The Lost Empire (Buena Vista) BVI $5m $69.4m
10 (5) Baby Boy (Columbia) Columbia TriStar $4.8m $20.8m