The Jim Carey vehicle Bruce Almighty proved to be just that at the box office over the Memorial Day weekend. The comedy about a newsman granted divine powers by God (Morgan Freeman) brought in a surprising $86 million dollars during the four-day period, knocking Warner Bros.’ The Matrix Reloaded out of the top spot.
Featuring visual effects by Illusion Arts, Universal Pictures’ Bruce marks Carey’s return to the type of over-the-top comedy that made him a star. In 1996, the actor made a major departure from characters like Ace Ventura and The Mask with the Ben Stiller-directed dark comedy The Cable Guy. What followed was a string of more serious and less lucrative projects like The Truman Show, Man on the Moon and The Majestic.
For Bruce, Carey reunited with Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Liar, Liar director Tom Shadyac. The result is the biggest opening for a non-sequel comedy the second biggest Memorial Day opening in history. The Lost World: Jurassic Park did slightly better with just over $90 million in 1997.
After just one week in the No. 1 spot, The Matrix Reloaded slips to No. 2 with a 50% drop off in ticket sales. Still, the sci-fi actioner brought in an estimated $45.6 million to jack the gross up to around $209 million. According to Warner Bros., overseas receipts for the film have now reached $154 million, even though the film doesn’t open in Japan, its biggest expected international market, until June 7.
Nasty weather in many parts of the country contributed to a big weekend for movies in general. Sony Pictures’ Eddie Murphy family comedy Daddy Day Care racked up another $18 million for a third place finish and an estimated cume of $73 million. X2: X-Men United is steadily clawing its way to the $200 million mark. Twentieth Century Fox’s comic book adaptation pulled in around $13 million to push the four-week total to an estimated $192 million. Finishing at No. 5 is Warner Bros.’ action/comedy remake The In-Laws. Tough competition from Bruce and hardy holdovers left just over $9 million for the Michael Douglas/Albert Brooks pairing.