New Line Cinema continued its extraordinary run of success with another number one hit. Blade II sliced to the top of the North American box office over the weekend with a gross of $33.1m which almost doubles the opening gross of the original film in 1998.
Blade II is now the second biggest March opening ever after last week's number one opener Ice Age which slipped 33% to number two with $31m to bring its total to $88.3m.
New Line is edging up to the $300m domestic mark and has just crossed the $500m international mark with The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring and scored another number one in February with John Q. Blade II opened at 2,707 sites with an average of $12,228.
Directed by Guillermo Del Toro, whose Spanish film The Devil's Backbone opened through Sony Pictures Classics earlier this year, the film stars Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson from the original as well as Norman Reedus, Luke Goss and Ron Perlman. It was shot in Prague.
Ironically, the film which generated the most publicity this week and certainly the best reviewed movie of the week was Universal's re-release of 1982 classic ET - The Extra-Terrestrial which took $15.1m on 3,007 screens - a so-so reissue for the film which has been digitially restored and features two scenes cut from the original film.
Buena Vista's teen comedy Sorority Boys starring Harland Williams, Barry Watson and Michael Rosenbaum was a flop with just $4.2m from 1,801 screens for ninth place.
Box office was up a spectacular 74% from the same weekend last year. Next weekend sees new openers including Columbia Pictures' highly anticipated thriller Panic Room starring Jodie Foster and directed by David Fincher, Nickelodeon Movies' family adventure Clockstoppers from Paramount, Warner Bros' dark comedy Death To Smoochy starring Robin Williams, Edward Norton, Catherine Keener and Danny DeVito and Buena Vista's baseball drama The Rookie with Dennis Quaid and Rachel Griffiths.
ESTIMATED TOP TEN US MARCH 22-24
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (-) Blade II (New Line) New Line International $33.1m --
2 (1) Ice Age (20th Century Fox) Fox International $31m $88.3m
3 (-) ET - The Extra-Terrestrial (Universal) UIP $15.1m --
4 (3) Showtime (Warner Bros) Warner Bros $8.2m 26.9m
5 (2) Resident Evil (Screen Gems) Intermedia $6.6m $28.8m
6 (5) We Were Soldiers (Paramount) Icon International $5.8m $61.7m
7 (4) The Time Machine (DreamWorks) Warner Bros $5.2m $48m
8 (9) A Beautiful Mind (Universal) DreamWorks/UIP $4.3m $154.9m
9 (-) Sorority Boys (Buena Vista) BVI $4.2m --
10 (7) 40 Days And 40 Nights (Miramax) Universal/StudioCanal $2.7m $34.2m