Sex, star power and Stanley Kubrick. That teasing mix made Eyes Wide Shut the nation's No.1 movie with an opening weekend gross estimated at $22.8 million.

Industry analysts consider this a solid debut for the sexual psychodrama, starring on- and off-screen husband and wife, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Kubrick's work has not had broad appeal in recent years and the adult-themed, R-rated movie has a lengthy running time. But curiosity (heightened by the director's death earlier this year), the peepshow style of Warner Bros.' marketing campaign and Cruise's established box office power, paid off, despite mixed reviews.

The movie is estimated to have already grossed half the total box office of Kubrick's last two movies, Full Metal Jacket and The Shining. It now has to be seen if it will benefit further from word of mouth.

In competition, the scene-chewing crocodile flick Lake Placid scared up $10.2 million, debuting in fourth place behind the two established gross-out flicks American Pie and Big Daddy.

The youth-oriented, urban buddy movie The Wood opened with $8.6 million in sixth place. Meanwhile, the family-friendly Muppets in Space, which opened Wednesday, only managed $5.1 million in the 10th slot.

Eyes Wide Shut had a per-screen average of $9,457 at 2,411 sites. But a much more eye-catching statistic was the whopping $57,407 average at 27 sites for the low-budget horror movie The Blair Witch Project, which Artisan Entertainment plans to wide release July 30.

According to Exhibitor Relations, the Top 10 lined up this way:

1. Eyes Wide Shut, $22.8 million
2. American Pie, $13.3 million
3. Big Daddy, $10.5 million
4. Lake Placid, $10.2 million
5. Wild Wild West, $10 million
6. The Wood, $8.6 million
7. Tarzan, $7.4 million
8. The Phantom Menace, $5.3 million
9. The General's Daughter, $5.2 million
10. Muppets From Space, $5.1 million

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