Hulk’s A Smash

Director Ang Lee’s big-screen adaptation of Marvel Comics’ The Hulk didn’t smash any major box office records, but it did pull in plenty of green over the weekend. The Universal release made an estimated $62.6 million to grab the top spot from Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo.

Reviews for The Hulk have been mixed. Most critics have applauded Lee’s direction but the quality of the CG Hulk has been widely contested. Some found it unconvincing while others consided its look befitting its comic book origins. Industrial Light & Magic had the behemoth task of bringing the big guy to life, with the director donning a motion-capture suit to provide the character’s movements.

As far as recent superhero movies go, Hulk‘s debut has trounced the $45 million opening of Fox’s take on Marvel’s lesser-known franchise, Daredevil, but is leagues behind Spider-Man‘s (Sony) $114.8 million bow and X2: X-Men United‘s (Fox) $85.5 million start.

The Sean Connery vehicle The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, based on a comic book property by Alan Moor and Kevin O’Neill, is the next entry in the genre. The film, which debuts July 11, teams fictional adventurer Alan Quatermaine with the likes of Dr. Jeckyll, the Invisible Man, Dracula heroine Mina Harker, Dorian Gray, Captain Nemo and other infamous literary figures.

Nemo reeled in an estimated $20 million in its fourth week of release, bringing its cume to around $227.9 million. The CG family flick has surpassed Fox’s blockbuster X2: X-Men United and is steadily creeping up on the summer’s box office champ, The Matrix Reloaded, which made just over $264.5 million in six weeks.

Meanwhile, Universal’s divine comedy Bruce Almighty joined the $200 million club over the weekend. Another estimated $9.9 million brings its cume to around $210.7 million and places it at fourth place behind the studio’s sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious. Paramount’s The Italian Job rounds out the top five with an estimated $7.2 million.

Paramount’s animated romp Rugrats Go Wild dropped out of the top five to land at No. 6. Still, its $6.6 million weekend take was good enough to diaper newcomers Alex & Emma (Warner Bros.) and From Justin to Kelly (Fox), which managed an estimated $6.2 million and $2.8 million respectively.