Box Office: Record-Setting Debut for Rush Hour 2

ByABC News

August 5, 2001 -- The scuttlebutt holds that Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, indifferent collaborators at best during the filming of 1998's Rush Hour, became much more palsy-walsy while shooting its sequel. Good thing, too, because the pair of them will almost certainly be working together again, and probably more than once.

Rush Hour 2 amassed the biggest August opening-weekend gross in cinematic history, according to studio estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations, piling up approximately $66.8 million to surpass the mark of $26.6 million set by The Sixth Sense in 1999. Rush 2's astonishing debut is the fourth-largest three-day weekend haul in cinematic history, though only the third-largest of 2001, after Planet of the Apes ($68.5 million) and The Mummy Returns ($68.1 million).

Also opening impressively was Disney's The Princess Diaries, which finished third, behind Rush Hour 2 and Planet of the Apes ($28.5 million), with a first-weekend gross of $23.2 million. Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway star in the G-rated, whimsical modern-day fairy tale, which doubtless benefited from the frustration of frazzled parents at wits' end over the seasonal glut of PG-13- and R-rated fare.

Apes Implodes; Audiences Not Tempted by SinApes fell victim to the second-weekend slump that has been the bane of big blockbusters all season long: Its $28 million take represents a dizzying 58 percent plunge from an opening weekend gross larger than any other but that of 1997's The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Though the movie has made slightly more than $124 million to date, the likelihood that that total will eventually top $200 million now appears slim.

MGM's Original Sin also registered disappointing returns. The steamy romantic thriller, despite the lure of its controversial sexual content and the sensual presence of stars Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas, took in just $6.4 million, making it the weekend's sixth-highest grosser.

The Top 10 films for Aug. 3-5, 2001:Rush Hour 2, $66.8 millionPlanet of the Apes, $28.5 millionThe Princess Diaries, $23.2 millionJurassic Park III, $12.1 millionAmerica's Sweethearts, $8.4 millionOriginal Sin, $6.4 millionLegally Blonde, $6.1 millionThe Score, $5 millionCats & Dogs, $2.3 millionDr. Dolittle 2, $2.1 million

Final figures will be released Monday.

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