''Matrix Reloaded'' breaks box office records. The Keanu Reeves flick debuts as the biggest R-rated film

By Dave Karger
Updated May 16, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
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It’s time to update those record books — just not all of them.

”The Matrix Reloaded” exploded into movie theaters this weekend, earning a colossal $93.3 million over the three-day weekend and $135.8 million since opening on Wednesday night, according to studio estimates. So which records did the Keanu Reeves megasequel break? Okay, pay very close attention.

Three-day opening weekend: No. ”The Matrix Reloaded”’s $93.3 million puts it ahead of the all-time No. 2, ”Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which debuted with $90.3 million. But it’s still well behind ”Spider-Man”’s record of $114.8 million. Keanu can blame ”Reloaded”’s R rating for that shortcoming.

Four-day opening weekend: Yes. Last year, ”Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones” premiered with $113 million over a four-day period. ”Reloaded”’s $135.8 million trashed that benchmark.

R-rated opening: Yes. Before now, the biggest debut for an R-rated film was ”Hannibal’s” $58 million. ”The Matrix Reloaded” chomped on that figure with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

Opening day: This one’s a little tougher to call. According to ”Reloaded”’s distributor, Warner Bros., the film’s opening-day figure is $42.5 million, which beats ”Spider-Man”’s record of $39.4 million. But Warners is also including grosses from Wednesday night’s previews in that Thursday tally. The studio won’t say exactly how much dough was brought in from those previews, but it was certainly more than $3 million, meaning ”Spider-Man”’s true one-day record is safe. But whatever the case, $135.8 million in four and a half days is absolutely phenomenal.

All the other movies in the marketplace combined couldn’t match ”The Matrix.” Holding onto second place was the Eddie Murphy comedy ”Daddy Day Care,” which slipped only 31 percent to $19.2 million, bringing its 10-day total to $51.4 million. Last week’s No. 1 film, ”X2: X-Men United,” took a much larger hit since its audience was much more interested in ”The Matrix.” The sequel plummeted 57 percent in its third week to $17.1 million and has now reached $174 million.

The week’s other new wide release, the Renee Zellweger/Ewan McGregor romance ”Down With Love,” premiered with only $7.6 million, an example of a counterprogramming move that didn’t really pay off. And ”The Lizzie McGuire Movie” finished off the top five with $4.5 million, bringing its three-week total to $32.1 million. With Keanu back in mulitplexes, Lizzie is so last week.

Daddy Day Care

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  • PG
  • 93 minutes
  • Steve Carr