Buena Vista plundered thebox office and scored one of the few well-reviewed movies of the summer with PiratesOf The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl which took $46.4m over the weekend and $70.4m intotal since its Wednesday opening.
The expensive pirateadventure "inspired by" the theme park ride at Disneyland is the latest JerryBruckheimer production to hit for the studio. Directed by Gore Verbinski (TheRing, The Mexican), it stars JohnnyDepp as a pirate chasing after a crew of renegade undead pirates led byGeoffrey Rush. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley play the young lovers alsoinvolved in the antics.
Bruckheimer,who already had a hit earlier in the year with Kangaroo Jack at Warner Bros, is also behind next weekend's bigSony opener Bad Boys II andanother Disney picture, the intense drama Veronica Guerin which is scheduled to open in October.
Pirates grossed $13.5m on Wednesday, beating the opening dayof the R-rated T3 last Wednesday,but coming in under T3's $72.5mfive-day total. T3 itself fell 55%, the now-customary second weekend total, totake $19.6m for a total of $110.5m.
MeanwhileFox's costly comic-book actioner The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen opened at number two with $23.3m, abetter-than-expected opening for the poorly-reviewed period movie about a groupof legendary fictional heroes who get together to fight a megalomaniac madmanin 1899. Sean Connery, Peta Wilson, Stuart Townsend and Shane West star. StevenNorrington directed.
Disney's Finding Nemo continued to dazzle with another $8m in the bank forDisney and Pixar. The film, which has so far taken $290.8m, now stands a chanceof beating The Lion King's $328mtotal to become the highest grossing animated film of all time.
Box office was up 3.5% onthe same weekend last year, the first increase in five weeks, a trend which canonly be continued by the release next weekend of Bad Boys II and the huge international hit Johnny English from Universal.
Estimated Top Ten US July11-13
Film(Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date
1 (-) Pirates Of TheCaribbean (Buena Vista) BVI $46.4m$70.4m
2 (-) The League OfExtraordinary Gentlemen (20thCentury Fox) Fox International $23.3m --
3 (1) Terminator 3: RiseOf The Machines (Warner Bros)Columbia TriStar $19.6m $110.5m
4 (2) Legally Blonde 2:Red, White & Blonde (MGM) 20thCentury Fox $12m $62.9m
5 (4) Finding Nemo (Disney/Pixar) BVI $8.2m $290.8m
6 (3) Charlie's Angels:Full Throttle (Columbia) ColumbiaTriStar $7.3m $81.7m
7 (6) Sinbad: Legend OfThe Seven Seas (DreamWorks) UIP$4.6m $19.1m
8 (7) 28 Days Later (Fox Searchlight) Fox International $4.3m $28.5m
9 (5) The Hulk (Universal) UIP $3.7m $124.7m
10 (8) The Italian Job (Paramount) UIP $2.8m $88.9m