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'Bourne' Reigns Supreme

In the biggest weekend for a spy film ever, "The Bourne Supremacy" starring Matt Damon took the top slot in this weekend's box office earnings with an impressive $53 million.

It was followed by the sci-fi blockbuster "I, Robot" staring Will Smith taking in $22 million. And rounding out the top three was Halle Berry's "Catwoman" with over $17 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.

Damon's sequel nearly doubled the opening-weekend take of $27.1 million for "Bourne Identity" in summer 2002. While Berry's critically derided comic-book adaptation "Catwoman" opened a distant third.

From the marriage of an ogre in "Shrek 2," to a political documentary that takes on the Bush administration, this summer's movie choices have had just about everything for everyone.

The Early Show entertainment contributor Laurie Hibberd offers a mid-summer report card.

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" cost a bit less than $100 million to make, but its opening gross was a disappointment for distributor Warner Bros.

"The hype was incredible," Hibberd says. "When we started to see the trailers in the theaters with the great outfit that Halle Berry looks fantastic in, the audiences were going crazy, and the stunts looked great. But it did not deliver for the classic reason of you got to have a story. It just didn't deliver."

"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 surprise. The top prize winner at May's Cannes Film Festival, "Fahrenheit 9/11" is Moore's assault on President Bush over the Sept. 11 attacks.

Hibberd notes, "This movie won at the Cannes Film Festival, but lost the distributor. Disney backed out. They must be kicking themselves now. It just reached the $100 million, making $103 million now. It's a lightning rod."

Disney refused to let subsidiary Miramax release it, so Miramax bosses Harvey and Bob Weinstein bought the film back and lined up independent distribution. Disney chief Michael Eisner said "Fahrenheit 9/11" had been too political for the company. Eisner recently said he saw the film and liked it.

"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. "I'm glad Mr. Eisner has said he liked the film, but I would think that his stockholders might wonder what his fiduciary responsibilities are to them at this point."

Hibberd says, "It's an easy to watch documentary. Michael Moore gives you the ABCs of what he thinks. It's not even a documentary. It's an editorial. He makes it easy for you to understand and follow along and a lot of people who aren't politically minded can see the movie and see a side of politics that they may not have."

"Fahrenheit 9/11" ended up doing more business than any release so far this year for Disney, which has been in a slump with such duds as "The Alamo," "King Arthur" and "Around the World in 80 Days."

On the other end of the spectrum, the biggest surprise flop for Hibberd was "Van Helsing" and "Catwoman." "Van Helsing," with Hugh Jackman, was supposed to be huge and didn't pan out.

This is the summer where sequels are even better than the first movies. Among them, "Shrek 2," "Spiderman 2," "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" and "The Bourne Supremacy."

Hibberd says, "The Bourne Supremacy" was a terrific script and they took a movie that did well in the DVD and scripted it into a great summer sequel. People are figuring out you can't bank on the name brand being the thing to get people into theaters. They have to have a story and advance the characters."

As for Brad Pitt's "Troy" and the "King Arthur movie," Hibberd says they are summer disappointments.

"'Troy' was horribly miscast," she says. I called him Achilles dude. I don't know whom I would have put in, but I don't believe men would follow him into battle. Russell Crowe, men would follow. Brad Pitt, he's a great actor, but just not in this role. 'King Arthur" I saw nothing new; it had already been done."

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.

Hibberd's favorite pick of the summer, though she is embarrassed to say, is "The Notebook," she says. "Must be because I'm hormonal because I'm a new mother. But 'The Notebook' to me, was like the greatest movie this summer - it's what it's all about, a love story."

The following are the numbers according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

  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.
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