The Matrix Reloaded scored the biggest domestic opening ever for anR-rated film and the second biggest domestic bow of all time at the weekend,delivering a mighty $93.3m according to Warner Bros estimates.
Factoring in Thursday's$42.5m opening day and $5m from Wednesday previews, The Matrix Reloadedgrossed $135.8m over four days. The sci-fi sequel overtook Hannibal ($58m,2001) as the biggest R-rated bow and trails only Spider-Man's $114.8mall-time biggest bow in 2002.
The highly anticipatedsequel sees Neo and his band of reality warriors step up the fight against themachines as he attempts to contact the creator of the Matrix. Keanu Reeves,Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving star and the film, whichreceived very strong reviews, was once again directed by Larry and AndyWachowski.
The Matrix Reloaded averaged $25,883 from 3,603 theatres and over the course of four days grossed what 1999's TheMatrix earned in five weeks. That film went on to make $171m at thedomestic box office, a target that must now seem eminently attainable toexuberant Warner Bros executives.
The studio said the filmattracted roughly equal numbers of viewers either side of 25 years, with 60%males and a lot of families.
The third and finalinstalment in the series, The Matrix Revolutions, is set for a Nov 5release in the US. The film's producer Joel Silver told reporters at Canneslast week he wants to orchestrate a simultaneous global release.
Holding well on $19.2m insecond place was Columbia/Revolution's comedy Daddy Day Care. The EddieMurphy vehicle has amassed $51.4m in 10 days and is a welcome hit for its star,who is emerging from a barren box office spell.
Fox's X2: X-Men Unitedkept up the good work, slipping two to third on $17.1m for $174m in its thirdweek. The blockbuster will continue to accumulate in the coming weeks althoughit does appear to have begun a gradual descent.
In fourth was Fox'smoderately successful counter-programming ploy Down With Love, a retroromp for Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor that broke into the top 10 afterexpanding wide.
It climbed 47 places on$7.6m for $7.7m in its second week, averaging $3,573 from 2,124 sites.
Buena Vista's The LizzieMcGuire Movie dropped two to fifth, adding $4.5m for $32.1m in its thirdweek.
Columbia/Revolution's AngerManagement fell one place to sixth, adding $3.6m for a terrific $128.3m inits sixth week. In seventh was Columbia stablemate Identity, which fellthree to seventh in its fourth week on $3.4m for a decent $44.8m.
Buena Vista's Holesfell two to eighth on $3m for $55.8m in its fifth week. The highly regardedchildren's story has surpassed studio expectations with its impressive run.
Warner Bros' A MightyWind and Fox Seachlight's Bend It Like Beckham rounded out thetable, grossing $1.7m for $12.1m and $1.5m for $15.2m respectively - bothexcellent performances.
Overall the top 12 filmsgrossed $156m, down 4% from the same period last year, when Fox's Star Wars:Episode II - Attack of the Clones opened at number one.
Next week sees the releaseof the Universal comedy Bruce Almighty, starring Jim Carrey and JenniferAniston; and the Warner Bros comedy The In-Laws, starring MichaelDouglas and Albert Brooks.
Estimated Top Ten US May 16-18, 2003
Film(Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date
1 (-) The Matrix Reloaded (Warner Bros) Warner Bros $93.3m $135.8m(four-day)
2 (2) Daddy Day Care (Columbia/Revolution) CTFDI $19.2m $51.4m
3 (1) X2: X-Men United (Fox) Fox International $17.1m $174m
4 (51) Down With Love (Fox) Fox International $7.6m $7.7m
5 (3) The Lizzie McGuire Movie (Buena Vista) BVI $4.5m $32.1m
6 (5) Anger Management(Columbia/Revolution) CTFDI $3.6m $128.3m
7 (4) Identity (Columbia) CTFDI $3.4m $44.8m
8 (6) Holes (BuenaVista) BVI $3m $55.8m
9 (7) A Mighty Wind (Warner Bros) Warner Bros $1.7m $12.1m
10 (9) Bend It Like Beckham (Fox Searchlight) Fox International $1.5m$15.2m