”Mission: Impossible 2” scored $71.8 million in ticket sales this four-day weekend, bringing its six-day total to $92.8 million and helping boost the total Memorial Day box office take to an all-time high. The top 12 films grossed $174.7 million for the weekend, knocking out the record of $137.7 million set in 1997, the year of Steven Spielberg’s ”Lost World: Jurrasic Park.” (For its four-day gross ”M:I-2” landed second behind ”Lost World,” which debuted at $90.2.) Thus far, director John Woo’s stylized sequel is also on track to topple the first ”Mission” movie, which earned $74.9 million in its first six days, and went on to make $465 million worldwide.
Last week’s No. 1 debut, ”Dinosaur,” dropped to No. 2 with $33.5 million, bringing its total to $81.9 million. Jackie Chan’s ”Shanghai Noon,” the weekend’s other newcomer, raked in $19.5 million, debuting at No. 3, and beating DreamWorks’ two offerings: ”Gladiator” at No. 4 ($17.3 million) and ”Road Trip” at No. 5 ($14 million). Meanwhile, John Travolta’s ”Battlefield Earth” officially won the dubious honor of being the first blockbuster bomb of the summer. The $70 million sci-fi extravaganza earned just $1 million over the weekend, plummeting out of the top 10 and bringing its 18-day total to a scant $20.3 million.
CRITICAL MASS ”M:I-2” may have won the majority of ticket buyers this weekend, but among EW Online’s readers the battle between the John Woo flick and Jackie Chan’s ”Shanghai Noon” was a close one. Overall, voters graded ”Mission” a B, slightly lower than the critics’ marks (EW: B+), while ”Shanghai Noon” earned a B+, doing aerials over the critics’ average of B- (EW: C). The highest marks for ”Shanghai” came from women, who graded the slapstick Western an A- (Men: B+), versus a B+ for the hunkadelic ”Mission” (Men: B-).
Surprisingly, it was Jackie Chan’s karate-chop antics that attracted more voters than Cruise’s superspy high jinks. Some 39 percent said they went to see ”Shanghai” for its stars — Chan, Owen Wilson, and Lucy Liu — while only 26 percent were drawn to ”Mission” for its well-known marquee mug. Another 14 percent were eager to watch John Woo work his ”Killers”’ magic on Cruise, while NONE of EW Online’s voters went to see ”Shanghai Noon” for its director. Which only makes us wonder what would happen if Chan and Woo decide to work together next time they plan a Hollywood showdown.