Troy opened top at the weekend on an estimated $45.6m, aslightly disappointing bow that owed much to the $200m production's lengthyrunning time, R rating and mixed reviews.
Warner Bros distribution chiefs are confident the picture'squality will allow it to gather momentum over time but the word of mouth willneed to kick in quickly with Shrek 2 set to open on Wednesday and TheDay After Tomorrow waiting in the wings.
In its second weekend Universal's Van Helsing plummeted61% on $20.1m for $84.5, far short of the $100m mark studio executives hadpredicted by this stage.
Screen Gem's romantic comedy Breakin' All The Rulesopened fourth on $5.3m as the top 12 titles combined for $100m, down 35%compared to the same period last year when The Matrix Reloaded openedtop on $92m.
Adapted from Homer's Iliad, Troy stars Brad Pitt andEric Bana as rival warriors Achilles and Hector whose armies clash when thelatter's impetuous young Trojan brother Paris (Orlando Bloom) steals the Greekqueen Helen (Diane Kruger).
The picture averaged $13,372from 3,411 sites and divided the critics. By comparison, Gladiatoropened on $34.8m four years ago.
Breakin' All The Rules stars Jamie Foxx as a jiltedlover who writes a bestseller about dating, only to fall for his cousin's date,played by Gabrielle Union.
Dan Taplitz wrote and directed and the picture, whichaveraged $4,021 from 1,318 sites and was on thereceiving end of some dire reviews.
Paramount's Mean Girlsslipped one place to third on $10.1m for $55.3m in its third week, while 20thCentury Fox's Man On Fire fell two to fifth on $5.3m for $64.3m in itsfourth week.
Next weekend's wide releasesinclude Dreamworks' sequel Shrek 2, starring the vocal talents of MikeMyers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz.
Estimated Top Ten US May14-16 2004
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date
1 (-) Troy (Warner Bros)Warner Bros Pictures Intl $45.6m -
2 (1) Van Helsing (Universal) UIP $20.1m $84.5m
3 (2) Mean Girls (Paramount) UIP $10.1m $55.3m
4 (-) Breakin' All The Rules (Screen Gems) CTFDI $5.3m -
5 (3) Man On Fire (Fox/New Regency) Fox International $5.3m $64.3m
6 (5) 13 Going On 30 (Columbia/Revolution) CTFDI $4.2m $48.6m
7 (4) New York Minute (Warner Bros) Warner Bros $3.8m $10.7m
8 (6) Laws of Attraction (New Line) NLI $2.1m $15.4m
9 (7) Kill Bill Vol 1 (Miramax) BVI $1.6m $60.8m
10 (8) Godsend (Lions Gate) Lions Gate International $1m $13.4m