Wallets Unloaded

Moviegoers shelled it out in record numbers over the weekend for the second installment in Larry and Andy Wachowski’s sci-fi/action saga. Warner Bros.’ The Matrix Reloaded took in an estimated $135 million since opening late Wednesday night. The opening was the biggest ever for an R-rated film and its estimated $93.3 for the weekend puts it just behind Spider-Man‘s $125 million first weekend.

Bolstered by visual effects from Animal Logic, BUF, CIS, CFX, ESC, Giant Killer Robots, Sony Pictures Imageworks and PLF, The Matrix Reloaded easily grabbed the No. 1 spot from reigning two-week champ X2: X-Men United, which clawed up another $17 million and slipped to No. 3 behind the Eddie Murphy family comedy Daddy Day Care. Fox’s retro-styled romantic comedy Down With Love pulled in an estimated $7.6 million for a fourth place finish. Rounding out the top five is Disney’s The Lizzie McGuire Movie with a three-week cume of around $32 million.

The weekend’s fully-animated debut, Miramax’s Pokemon Heroes, managed $225,000 in just 196 theaters. The limited release suggests that the franchise may be reaching the end of its run on the big screen. Pokemon: The First Movie, distributed by Warner Bros., enjoyed a $31 million debut in November of 1999 to and went on to make $85.7 million. The 2000 follow-up, Pokemon The Movie, grossed $43.7 million and the next two theatrical outings took in $17 million and $1.7 million respectively.