‘Bruce’ lords it over ‘Matrix’

U's goofy God is B.O. gold as cyber sequel downloads

Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix Reloaded” appeared partially spent, but Universal’s “Bruce Almighty” opened divinely at No. 1 over the long Memorial Day weekend.

Mega-hyped action sequel, which debuted to such success a week earlier, fell short over the latest frame as “Bruce” begot a personal best for topliner Jim Carrey with an estimated $86.4 million bow through Monday. “Reloaded” rung up $45.6 million over the four days.

Co-produced by Spyglass, Tom Shadyac-helmed “Bruce” was welcomed as a return to comedic form for Carrey in a God-for-a-Day perf opposite Jennifer Aniston as loyal galpal. With older-appealing Morgan Freeman additionally featured as the actual, Yankees-loving deity, “Bruce” packed just too much demo pull even for “Reloaded” to thwart.

“It’s a heavenly day for the mortals at Universal,” U distrib maven Nikki Rocco said Monday.

“Reloaded” tumbled a big 59% this weekend in a three-day comparison with its opening sesh. But estimated cume moved to a mind-numbing $209.5 million from just 12 days in domestic release for the Village Roadshow co-prod.

“We certainly anticipated a strong drop-off from its record-breaking first week,” Warners distrib boss Dan Fellman said.

‘In-Laws’ fifth

Warners also unspooled a remake of “The In-Laws” this weekend, with Michael Douglas-Albert Brooks starrer grossing an estimated $9.1 million to finish fifth on the frame.

Fellman acknowledged bow was “slightly disappointing,” as counter-programming ploy fell short of expectations. “In-Laws” auds were 60% femmes, with patrons “mostly over 40,” Fellman said.

Elsewhere in the weekend top five, Sony/Revolution’s Eddie Murphy starrer “Daddy Day Care” finished third over its third sesh with $18 million, and 20th Century Fox’s comix actioner “X2: X-Men United” was fourth in its fourth frame with $13.1 million.

Industrywide, the weekend repped a 1% downtick from last year’s holiday sesh with $198 million in total estimated grosses, according to box office tracker Nielsen EDI.

‘Respiro’ strong

In a limited bow this weekend, Sony Classics’ drama “Respiro” grossed an estimated $93,627 over four days from seven L.A. and Gotham locations, or an impressive $13,375 per site.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, Fox Searchlight added 61 theaters for a total 154 for John Malkovich-helmed drama “The Dancer Upstairs” and grossed $490,000 over the long sesh. That repped $3,182 per venue with a $1.4 million cume.

Searchlight laffer “L’Auberge Espagnole” expanded by 17 engagements for a total 28 and grossed $222,841, or $7,959 per playdate with a $311,163 cume.

Paramount Classics expanded drama “The Man on the Train” by 29 runs for a total 46 and grossed $268,939, or $5,846 per venue with a $457,057 cume.

Sony Classics added a dozen locations for a total 25 for docu “Winged Migration” and grossed $276,381, or a nifty $11,055 per site with a $846,672 cume.

And Miramax drama “The Blue Car” added nine theaters for a total 21 and grossed an estimated $82,000, or $3,905 per venue with a $230,136 cume.

‘Bruce’ has mixed auds

“Bruce Almighty” auds evenly comprised moviegoers above and below age 25, with femmes repping 53% of patrons. Exit surveys showed 87% of moviegoers rated pic “excellent” or “very good,” U’s Rocco said.

That should help sustain soph-sesh interest when B.O. competish thickens considerably. Wide openers skedded for next weekend include Disney/Pixar tooner “Finding Nemo,” Paramount’s action remake “The Italian Job” and Fox horror pic “Wrong Turn.”

Spyglass got foreign sales rights on “Bruce” from its co-prod arrangement on “Bruce.” Pic’s negative cost is estimated at $81 million.

“Bruce” grossed $70.8 million through Sunday, a record bow for a non-sequel laffer. Opening was the second best of any comedy, after last July’s “Austin Powers in Goldmember” ($73.1 million).

Sequel passes ‘Reloaded’

“Matrix Reloaded” surpassed the total domestic gross for the first “Matrix” movie by Friday, just its ninth day in release. That’s when cume hit $174 million compared with original’s $171 million haul.

“Reloaded” became the fastest R-rated pic to reach $200 million when it passed that mark on Sunday, its 11th day in theaters. Sony’s PG-13-rated “Spider-Man” soared past $200 mil in nine days last May.

“Reloaded” and “Spider-Man” have each set B.O. records, but it’s now clear the Warners pic won’t display “Spidey”-like legs.

“Spider-Man” grossed an amazing $403.7 million in the fifth-best domestic perf ever. Warners estimates “Reloaded” is on track to gross about $300 million.

Attention now shifts toward prospects for the final sequel in the action franchise. “The Matrix Revolutions” unspools Nov. 7.

The “Matrix” sequels were produced simultaneously at a cost estimated at $300 million or more. Producer Joel Silver has said there’s little chance of any further installments in the franchise, with the possibility of prequels somewhat precluded by a series anime-tooner shorts set for DVD release under the title “Animatrix.”

More Film

  • Durban FilmMart Celebrates Women as Industry

    Durban FilmMart Celebrates Women as Industry Still Struggles With Transformation

    Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix Reloaded” appeared partially spent, but Universal’s “Bruce Almighty” opened divinely at No. 1 over the long Memorial Day weekend. Mega-hyped action sequel, which debuted to such success a week earlier, fell short over the latest frame as “Bruce” begot a personal best for topliner Jim Carrey with an estimated $86.4 million […]

  • MayFair, directed by Sara Blecher

    Sara Blecher’s ‘Mayfair’ Brings Feminine Gaze to Gangster Tale

    Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix Reloaded” appeared partially spent, but Universal’s “Bruce Almighty” opened divinely at No. 1 over the long Memorial Day weekend. Mega-hyped action sequel, which debuted to such success a week earlier, fell short over the latest frame as “Bruce” begot a personal best for topliner Jim Carrey with an estimated $86.4 million […]

  • Todd Brown, XYZ Films

    African Finance Under Spotlight at Durban FilmMart  

    Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix Reloaded” appeared partially spent, but Universal’s “Bruce Almighty” opened divinely at No. 1 over the long Memorial Day weekend. Mega-hyped action sequel, which debuted to such success a week earlier, fell short over the latest frame as “Bruce” begot a personal best for topliner Jim Carrey with an estimated $86.4 million […]

  • Ryan Reynolds'Deadpool' panel, Comic-Con International, San

    Ryan Reynolds Wants to Explore Deadpool's Bisexuality in Future Films

    Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix Reloaded” appeared partially spent, but Universal’s “Bruce Almighty” opened divinely at No. 1 over the long Memorial Day weekend. Mega-hyped action sequel, which debuted to such success a week earlier, fell short over the latest frame as “Bruce” begot a personal best for topliner Jim Carrey with an estimated $86.4 million […]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9243328q)From

    Jonathan Gold, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Restaurant Critic, Dies at 57

    Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix Reloaded” appeared partially spent, but Universal’s “Bruce Almighty” opened divinely at No. 1 over the long Memorial Day weekend. Mega-hyped action sequel, which debuted to such success a week earlier, fell short over the latest frame as “Bruce” begot a personal best for topliner Jim Carrey with an estimated $86.4 million […]

  • Johnny Depp Amber Heard

    Johnny Depp, Amber Heard Appear Moments Apart at WB's Comic-Con Panel

    Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix Reloaded” appeared partially spent, but Universal’s “Bruce Almighty” opened divinely at No. 1 over the long Memorial Day weekend. Mega-hyped action sequel, which debuted to such success a week earlier, fell short over the latest frame as “Bruce” begot a personal best for topliner Jim Carrey with an estimated $86.4 million […]

  • Patty Jenkins, Chris Pine and Gal

    'Wonder Woman 1984' Team Talks '80s Setting, Chris Pine's Resurrection

    Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix Reloaded” appeared partially spent, but Universal’s “Bruce Almighty” opened divinely at No. 1 over the long Memorial Day weekend. Mega-hyped action sequel, which debuted to such success a week earlier, fell short over the latest frame as “Bruce” begot a personal best for topliner Jim Carrey with an estimated $86.4 million […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content