A/V Room









Record summer for US Box Office (2003)

Story by: Jack Foley

THE US Box Office has enjoyed a record Summer this year, despite several of the biggest movies receiving critical pannings from the media.

Movies such as Finding Nemo and The Matrix Reloaded helped to make a mockery of early fears of a slump in takings, with the total gross expected to be in the region of $3.9bn (£2.5bn) - up 2% from last year's record figure.

The figures have been compiled by box office monitor, Exhibitor Relations, but have largely been attributed to a rise in prices rather than the number of tickets actually sold, which looks to be in decline for the first time in three years.

Of the success stories, Pixar's latest animated outing, Finding Nemo, looks set to become the year's most successful film, having taken $330m (£209m) in the US alone (it is released in the UK in October).

The Matrix Reloaded, everyone's early prediction for highest grosser, came in second, at $279m (£177m), while Pirates of the Caribbean, the surprise smash of the Summer, has taken more than $270m (£171m) - and could still rise to second place.

Bruce Almighty and X2: X-Men United also crossed the $200m (£127m) mark.

In addition, 12 films topped $100m (£63m), with four others poised to do so - breaking another record set last year, when 13 films made $100m.

Among the other sizeable hits were Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Bad Boys II, Hulk and Swat, along with sleeper success The Italian Job and Tobey Maguire's Depression-era racehorse drama, Seabiscuit.

However, not everything realised its potential, with bigger budget blockbusters such as T3, 2 Fast 2 Furious and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle falling short of analysts predictions.

Of this year's misfires, the sequels to Legally Blonde and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider also underachieved.

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