FINDING NEMO, the computer-animated underwater comedy/adventure from Disney/Pixar, exceeded all expectations with a record-breaking bow of $70.3M last weekend. That's the best opening ever for an animated feature, topping the $62.6M grabbed by MONSTERS, INC., the fourth Pixar/Disney movie from 2001. It's also the best three-day gross for any Buena Vista feature, live action or animated. FINDING NEMO also grabbed the best opening day gross for an animated feature with $21M on Friday, besting MONSTERS' $17.8M tally, as well as the best Saturday animation gross with $29.1M compared with MONTERS' $26.5M. These records are based on estimates, not actual grosses. With this auspicious opening for Disney/Pixar's first summer release, NEMO is primed to become Pixar's box office champ. MONSTERS' total gross was $253M. Buoyed by the father/son clown fish tale, the 2003 summer box office is ahead of last year's pace by a mighty 42%. Here's the rest of the pack:
BRUCE ALMIGHTY, the God-induced comedy starring Jim Carrey, dropped to second place with $37.3M and a $137.4M total, while Paramount's THE ITALIAN JOB debuted at number three with $19.5M. Companies contributing VFX included Flash Film Works, yU + co, Frantic Films, Gray Matter FX and Digital Doman. Meanwhile, Warner Bros.' MATRIX RELOADED came in fourth with another $16M for a $232.7M cume. the visual effects feast included work from Amalgamated Pixels, Animal Logic, BUF, Bullet Time, CIS, CFX, ESC Entertainment, Giant Killer Robots, PLF Sony Pictures Imageworks and Tippett Studio. Sony/Revolutions' DADDY DAY CARE settled into the fifth spot with $6.7M and a $81.9M take. Fox/New Regency's WRONG TURN, turned in a paltry $5.2M in its debut. Fox's X2-XMEN UNITED is in seventh place with $5M and a $199.4 cume. Contributing X2 VFX were Cinesite, EYETECH Optics, Frantic Films, Kleiser-Walczak Construction Co. and Rhythm & Hues. Warner Bros.' THE IN-LAWS held down eighth place with $3.7M and a 14.5M take. Cinesite handled VFX chores, with Randall Bahnsen serving as 3D motion tracking supervisor. Fox's DOWN WITH LOVE, featuring VFX by Asylum, hung in there in ninth place with another $1.6M for a total of $17.1M. DISNEY'S LIZZIE MCGUIRE MOVIE, VFX by Rainmaker Digital Pictures, rounded out the top 10 with $1.2M and a $39.3 cume. Box office information obtained from boxofficemojo.com.