"Hulk"s Huge Hunk of Green

E's got a good run down of how this weekend's new movies are doing. Of course we fans knew all along that Hulk would be #1, but here are the current estimates for all top 10:

1. The Hulk - $62.2 million
2. Finding Nemo - $20.5 million
It was a smash! A huge hunky hulk of green.

The Hulk rampaged into theaters as the top movie, generating an estimated $62.6 million, the biggest haul ever for a June opener.

Director Ang Lee's rendition of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's comic book tale - starring newcomer Eric Bana as the milquetoast science guy Bruce Banner, a computer generated hunk of green as his giant rampaging morphed self, Jennifer Connelly as the lab's resident beauty, and Nick Nolte as Banner's whacko dad - strode into the record books well ahead of the $54.9 million debut of the previous June record holder Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, which opened in 1999. a d v e r t i s e m e n t

(The Hulk registered third on the list of best debuts for a movie based on a comic book character, only beaten by X2: X-Men United, which took in $85.5 million when it opened this May, and, of course, Spider-Man, which took in an astounding $114.8 million when it opened in May 2002.)

Squeezed into 3,660 sites, the PG-13 Universal movie's per screen average was estimated to be $17,104. It attracted 44.1 percent of the Friday to Sunday audience for the top 12 flicks, equally divided between adults with memories of the comics and the TV series, and a young crowd just looking for action. But though it grabbed so much green some industry analysts apparently felt the film, which reportedly cost about $150 million to produce, would open even stronger, even though there had been some negative pre-release publicity over the CGI version of the Hulk, and reviews had been mixed.

However producer Avi Arad, who heads Marvel comics' studio operations, told Reuters he was very pleased with the opening and that, "People coming out of the movie didn't seem to have anything but high praise for what the creature ended up looking like, because they saw it for the first time in context, not just seeing a frozen picture of the Hulk." Plans are already in the works for a possible sequel.

The Hulk's arrival washed the fully animated Finding Nemo back to second place, but the Disney/Pixar fish tale still earned an estimated $20.5 million, with a very perky per screen average of $6,022 at 3,404 sites, pushing its four week total to a whale sized $228 million.

In third place the skid mark actioner 2 Fast 2 Furious earned enough - $10.3 million - in its third week to become the ninth film released this year to cross the $100 million mark. Also a Universal release it has grossed an estimated $102.1 million.

Few moviegoers loved Alex & Emma, starring Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson, as a writer and stenographer who fall for each other in the pages of fiction and in reality. The PG-13 Warners release opened in seventh place, with a mere $6.2 million, from a $2,701 average at 2,310 sites.

But that was almost respectable compared to From Justin to Kelly. The beach blanket musical love romp, starring American Idol's first season winner Kelly Clarkson and runner-up Justin Guarini, got sand kicked in its face. The PG Fox exploit didn't made the top 10. In 11th place it earned just $2.8 million, averaging just $1,437 at 2,001 sites.

In limited release the R rated Sony Picture Classic The Legend of Suriyothai, a love and war historical saga set in Siam, took in $7,225 per screen at seven sites for $50,572.

Last weeks openers dropped drastically. Not surprisingly the silly asses farce Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd fell hardest, 61 percent, down from sixth to ninth place with only $4.2 million, bringing the prequel's two week gross to just $19.9 million. Hollywood Homicide, also fell three spots from fifth to eighth, 48 percent down, taking in just $5.8 million. Despite its headliners - Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett - the buddy cop dramedy has only grossed $21.4 million. Rugrats Go Wild! did somewhat better, only down two spots from fourth to sixth, but that was a 42 percent decline. Earning $6.6 million the kiddie 'toon has so far grossed $23.5 million.

Exhibitor Relations Inc., which tallies the grosses estimated that the top 12 movies earned $141.9 million, a solid 22 percent flex up from last weekend, but still 5.5 percent less weighty than this time last year when theatergoers distributed their dollars more evenly among the top choices.

Final figures are due Monday. Here are the current estimates for the top 10 movies:

1. The Hulk, $62.2 million
2. Finding Nemo, $20.5 million
3. 2 Fast 2 Furious, $10.3 million
4. Bruce Almighty, $10 million
5. The Italian Job, $7.2 million
6. Rugrats Go Wild!, $6.6 million
7. Alex & Emma, $6.2 million
8. Hollywood Homicide, $5.8 million
9. Dumb and Dumberer, $4.2 million
10. The Matrix Reloaded, $4 million

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