Critically mauled World War II epic Pearl Harbor, the latest from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, had the last laugh when it crossed $430m in worldwide box office gross to win the summer blockbuster war and claim the title of most successful film worldwide for 2001 so far.
As US Labor Day weekend, the official end of the summer season, was reached, Harbor's total's tallied $196.7m domestically and just over $234m internationally. The film is now the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group's third-highest grossing live-action feature ever, following 1998's Armageddon, also directed by Harbor helmer Michael Bay, with $554m and 1999's The Sixth Sense ($530m).
Shrek and The Mummy Returns follow close behind with $426m and $418m respectively, with Shrek likely to pass Pearl Harbor's take before the year is out. Harbor's international tally is the true testament of its appeal, which was doubted by many, believing the film to be aimed too much towards the American market.
The war drama is far ahead of The Mummy sequel's $216m and Shrek's $163m international grosses - both of which owe more to their domestic receipts. The top international grosses for Pearl Harbor have been recorded in Japan ($50.4m) and Germany ($27m). The UK also provided a particularly strong performance totaling $18.7m.
However Shrek reigned supreme in North America for the summer season where it has built up a massive purse of $262.9m. This contributed to summer 2001 recording the biggest summer success of all time. Estimates from box office tracking company ACNielsen/EDI show $2.9bn was taken between Memorial Day, at the end of May, and Labor Day this weekend.
This figure is up approximately 5.7% on 1999, the previous champ, and 11% on summer 2000. However ticket price rises of 5% on 2000 account in some part for the difference between this year and 1999.