- LOS ANGELES(AP) -- Moviegoers gave their blessing to the "The Da Vinci
Code" over the weekend, spending an estimated $77 million to see the
Tom Hanks religious thriller.
- While the film didn't set a domestic
box office record, it was the largest weekend opening of the year so far
and became the second largest worldwide release after "Star Wars:
Episode III." It garnered some $224 million worldwide, according to
- The film also was the best domestic opening
for both Hanks and director Ron Howard.
- The movie's performance, combined with
the family film "Over the Hedge" debuting in second place with
$37.2 million, was a welcome contrast to the last two weekends that saw
disappointing results from "Poseidon" and "Mission: Impossible
- The total box office was down about 2.8
percent from the same weekend last year, according to studio estimates
released Sunday. But that's a tough comparison given that last year's numbers
included the record-setting debut of "Star Wars: Episode III."
- "'Da Vinci' opening this big just
tells you that people do want to go to the movies, they just need the right
movie to go," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker
- Sony Pictures took a risk in the marketing
of "The Da Vinci Code," keeping the adaptation of the Dan Brown
best-seller under wraps until a few days before its opening.
- The film received mixed reviews and protesters
picketed outside a number of theaters, upset over the story's suggestion
that Jesus Christ was married and had a child. But the controversy did
little to deter moviegoers, who packed theaters in almost every country
the film debuted.
- "You had a built-in audience from
the book and the awareness levels were so high from this film," Dergarabedian
said. "You would have to live under a rock not to know this movie
- The movie also set opening-weekend records
in Italy and Spain, Sony Pictures said.
- "This is a fantastically great surprise
for us this morning," said Jeff Blake, vice chairman of Sony Pictures.
- It was good news for the studio, which
had been struggling of late and had been counting on "The Da Vinci
Code" to boost its fortunes.
- "This is starting out to be a very
good year," studio chief Amy Pascal said.
- The animated film "Over the Hedge"
had a strong showing with its $37.2 million as part of a counter-programming
strategy from distributor Paramount Pictures. While the opening was slightly
low for a computer-animated family movie, the studio believes the film
will hold its own next weekend as children have the Memorial Day holiday
- "We thought we could very easily
coexist with `The Da Vinci Code' and I think the numbers bear that out,"
said Dan Harris, executive vice president at Paramount.
- The Tom Cruise action film "Mission:
Impossible III" crossed the $100 million mark in its third weekend
with a total domestic box office take of $103 million.
- Estimated ticket sales for Friday through
Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations.
Final figures will be released Monday.
- 1. "The Da Vinci Code," $77
- 2. "Over the Hedge," $37.2
- 3. "Mission: Impossible III,"
- 4. "Poseidon," $9.2 million.
- 5. "RV," $5.1 million
- 6. "See No Evil," $4.4 million
- 7. "Just My Luck," $3.4 million.
- 8. "An American Haunting,"
- 9. "United 93," $1.4 million.
- 10. "Akeelah and the Bee,"
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- Universal Pictures and Focus Features
are owned by NBC Universal, a joint venture of General Electric Co. and
Vivendi Universal; DreamWorks is a unit of DreamWorks SKG Inc.; Sony Pictures,
Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount
and Paramount Classics are divisions of Viacom Inc.; Disney's parent is
The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is a division of The Walt Disney Co.; 20th
Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Pictures are owned by News Corp.; Warner
Bros., New Line and Warner Independent are units of Time Warner Inc.; Lionsgate
is owned by Lionsgate Entertainment Corp.; IFC Films is owned by Rainbow
Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp.