As expected, Disney's PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL blew away all comers for the weekend of July 11-13, 2003. The estimated weekend gross was a very impressive $46.4M, while the five-day figure came in at $70.4M, exceeding most expectations. Coupled with Disney/Pixar's FINDING NEMO, which drew another $8.2M for the fifth spot and, at $290.8M, is only $22M shy of THE LION KING's all-time box office record for animation, the beleaguered studio now looks to have summer bragging rights. The fact that PIRATES opened so well during a non-holiday period also bodes well for the continued success of the swashbuckler. VFX was supplied by Industrial Light & Magic, Boy Wonder, CIS, Digiscope, Gray Matter FX, Method and Pacific Title.
Speaking of beleaguered, FOX's THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, which was beset by floods, infighting and production problems, collected a respectable $23.2M. The Sean Connery-starrer about a legion of Victorian superheroes was assisted by a legion of VFX services supplied by Industrial Light & Magic, Steve Johnson's Edge FX Inc., Double Negative, Cinesite (Europe), New Deal Studios Inc., Tippett Studio, Computercafe Inc., Pixel Magic, VCE.Com/Peter Kuran, R!OT, Giant Killer Robots, Engine Room, Big Red Pixel, Mar Vista Ventures and Millennium FX Ltd.
TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES, meanwhile, took a 55% hit in its second weekend, dropping to third place, but still managed $19.6M for Warner Bros. To date, TERMINATOR 3 has taken in a more than respectable $110.4M (bolstered by the combined VFX of Industrial Light & Magic, Anatomorphex, Pacific Data Images, Pacific Titles & Optical and Stan Winston Studio).
MGM's LEGALLY BLONDE 2: RED, WHITE AND BLUE slid 46% to fourth place. However, the Reese Witherspoon comedy (with VFX honors by Pixel Magic), scored another $12M for a cume of $62.8M. Sony's CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE dropped to sixth place with $7.3M and a total of $81.7 M in this difficult summer for sequels (with Sony Pictures Imageworks and The Orphanage supplying the bulk of the VFX).
DreamWorks' SINBAD: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN SEAS had a bumpy second weekend, occupying the seventh slot with $4.6M and a total of $19.1M. Fox Searchlight's surprise U.K. horror hit, 28 DAYS LATER (with VFX by Clear and The Moving Picture Co.), fell a bit to number eight with $4.2M, but has a very profitable $28.4M to date. Universal's THE HULK (with VFX by ILM) dropped to ninth with $3.6M and an unspectacular $124.6M. Paramount's THE ITALIAN JOB took the 10th spot with $2.7M and a heist worth $88.8M. Box office information obtained from boxofficemojo.com.