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''Goldmember'' sets box office records

”Goldmember” sets box office records. After raking in $71.5 million over the weekend, the ”Austin Powers” sequel is the best comedy opening ever and the best July opening ever

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Mike Myers, Beyonce Knowles, ...
Austin Powers in Goldmember: Melinda Sue Gordonrdon

We can imagine what Mike Myers is saying right now: ”Yeah, baby, yeah!”

Breaking numerous box office records, ”Austin Powers in Goldmember” earned an unbelievable $71.5 million over the weekend, according to studio estimates. That figure makes it the best comedy opening ever (beating ”Rush Hour 2”) and the best July opening ever (beating ”Planet of the Apes”). Add to that figure the $3.5 million ”AP3” earned in Thursday night previews, and you have a colossal $75 million debut. Over the Friday-to-Sunday period, only four movies in history have opened better: ”Spider-Man,” ”Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” ”Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones,” and ”The Lost World: Jurassic Park.”

Obviously, the ”Austin Powers” franchise, whose last film, ”The Spy Who Shagged Me,” premiered with $57.4 million, just keeps getting bigger and bigger. ”Goldmember” should have no problem topping the $200 million mark, especially with its A- grade from CinemaScore audiences.

After battling for the top spot last weekend, ”Road to Perdition” and ”Stuart Little 2” fought for No. 2, with ”Road” emerging victorious again. Each film fell only 29 percent from last week — ”Road” to $11 million, and ”Stuart” to $10.7 million, an excellent showing for both.

But the week’s other top-five flicks dropped more. ”Men in Black II” declined 40 percent in its fourth week to $8.7 million, bringing its total to $173.6 million. At this rate, it appears that ”MIBII” will not reach the $250 million the original film earned in 1997. And Harrison Ford’s poorly received ”K-19: The Widowmaker” plummeted 43 percent to $7.3 million in its second week for a 10-day total of only $25 million. ”K-19” should be his biggest disappointment since ”Sabrina.”

But at least ”K-19” performed better than Disney’s ”The Country Bears,” which continued the family-movie slump, managing only a sixth-place debut with $5.2 million. The lesson here: Audiences will accept a theme-park attraction based on a movie, but not a movie based on a theme-park attraction.