'Bourne' Slays Box Office Competition

Monday, July 26th 2004, 10:42 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Matt Damon's ``The Bourne Supremacy,'' the sequel about the amnesiac assassin he played in ``The Bourne Identity,'' debuted as the top weekend movie with ticket sales of $53.5 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. That was nearly double the opening weekend take of $27.1 million for ``Bourne Identity'' in summer 2002.

Halle Berry's critically derided comic-book adaptation ``Catwoman'' opened a distant third with $17.16 million, behind ``I, Robot,'' which took in $22.05 million to lift its 10-day total to $95.4 million.

Michael Moore's ``Fahrenheit 9/11'' was No. 7 with $5 million, lifting its domestic total to $103.35 million, the first documentary ever to top $100 million.

``The Bourne Supremacy,'' starring Damon as CIA killing machine Jason Bourne, outdid another super-agent with the same initials. The sequel's opening weekend topped the $47.1 million debut for ``Die Another Day,'' the best premiere ever for the James Bond franchise.

Universal Studios made ``The Bourne Supremacy'' for about $75 million, a bargain price in a business where many summer thrillers cost $100 million or more to produce.

``Making this film at a reasonable budget by today's standards just is something else to celebrate,'' said Nikki Rocco, Universal's head of distribution.

``Catwoman,'' which cost a bit less than $100 million to make, was a disappointment for distributor Warner Bros.

``I was hoping it would open up with a few more dollars in the bank,'' said Dan Fellman, Warner's head of distribution. ``But it's a pretty competitive weekend out there. We'll have to see how we hold up during the week.''

``Fahrenheit 9/11,'' produced for just $6 million, stands with Mel Gibson's religious blockbuster ``The Passion of the Christ'' as the year's big box-office surprises.

Disney refused to let subsidiary Miramax release the documentary, Moore's assault on President Bush over the Sept. 11 attacks, so Miramax bosses Harvey and Bob Weinstein bought the film back and lined up independent distribution. But while Disney chief Michael Eisner said ``Fahrenheit 9/11'' was too political for the company, he recently said he saw it and liked it.

``Fahrenheit 9/11'' has done more business than anything released so far this year by Disney, which has been in a slump with such duds as ``The Alamo,'' ``King Arthur'' and ``Around the World in 80 Days.''

``If you had told me when we were going through all the pre-distribution problems with Disney that this film would gross more than any other Disney film this year, I don't even know how to respond to that,'' Moore said Sunday.

Two films debuted strongly in limited release. The samurai tale ``The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi'' opened with $56,778 in four theaters. Colin Farrell's drama ``A Home at the End of the World'' premiered with $66,000 in five theaters.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. ``The Bourne Supremacy,'' $53.5 million.

2. ``I, Robot,'' $22.05 million.

3. ``Catwoman,'' $17.16 million.

4. ``Spider-Man 2,'' $15 million.

5. ``A Cinderella Story,'' $8.04 million.

6. ``Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,'' $7.1 million.

7. ``Fahrenheit 9/11,'' $5 million.

8. ``The Notebook,'' $4.45 million.

9. ``King Arthur,'' $3.06 million.

10. ``Shrek 2,'' $2.4 million.