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Finding Nemo sets an animated US Box Office record



Story by: Jack Foley

FINDING Nemo, the latest computer-animated underwater extravaganza from the creators of Monsters, Inc., A Bug’s Life and the Toy Story films, broke records in America this weekend (May 30-June 1, 2003) to become the biggest opening weekend ever for an animated film with a three-day Box Office gross of $70.6m.

Finding Nemo looks set to out-strip Disney/Pixar’s previous best of $255m for last year’s Monsters, Inc.

The film follows the comedic and eventful journeys of two fish – Marlin and his son Nemo – who become separated in the Great Barrier Reef.

Buoyed by the companionship of a friendly-but-forgetful fish named Dory, the overly cautious father embarks on a dangerous trek and finds himself the unlikely hero of an epic journey to rescue his son - who hatches a few daring plans of his own to return safely home.

Finding Nemo is said to take computer animation onto new spectacular levels and introduces some of Pixar’s best characters yet.

The film features the voices of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres and Willem Dafoe, was directed and co-written by Pixar veteran and Academy-Award nominee, Andrew Stanton, and executive-produced by Academy-Award winning writer/director, John Lasseter.

In addition to winning rave reviews from the US critics (see forthcoming preview), the film was the largest three-day opening in Buena Vista history, animated or live action, beating blockbusters like Pearl Harbor and setting a new company record.

The film was produced by the Walt Disney Co and Pixar Animation Studios Inc., whose partnership has now resulted in five consecutive No. 1 blockbusters.

Finding Nemo also scored the biggest opening day for an animated film in history. The film took $18m alone on Friday.

It also smashed the weekend figure for Shrek, which only took $42.3m.

The openings of other high-profile animated films compare as follows: The Lion King: $40.2m; Ice Age: $46.3m and Monsters, Inc.: $62.6m

Meanwhile, last week’s record-breaker, Bruce Almighty, settled into the number 2 position, having de-throned The Matrix Reloaded the previous week, and took a further $35.6m to take the box office total to $135.7m.

The Italian Job remake, which also opened to positive reviews, went in at number three, while slasher flick, Wrong Turn, was the only other major Top 10 entry in the US charts at the weekend.

Finding Nemo will open in the UK on October 3, 2003 (London’s West End) and October 10, 2003 (nationwide).

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