Austin Powers in Goldmember shagged up a whopping $73.1 million over the three-day weekend on its way to a litany of box-office records.
New Line's third outing of the manic swinger's absurd adventures bagged the title of biggest ever July opener (beating last summer's Planet of the Apes's $68.5 million debut) and the biggest ever comedy opener (surpassing the studio's own Rush Hour 2's $67.4 million). Goldmember also had its mojo working enough to notch the third best debut of the year (behind only Spider-Man and Star Wars: Episode II--Attack of the Clones), and the fifth best of all time.
The PG-13 spy spoof, which stars Mike Myers, Michael Caine and Beyoncé Knowles and a clutch of celebrity cameos, averaged a seat-filling $20,225 at 3,613 sites.
Its debut was well ahead of the first Powers flick, International Man of Mystery, which opened with just $9.5 million and a $4,366 screen average in 1997 but eventually grossed $53.8 million. Goldmember also outshone the $54.9 million and $16,581 theater average of the 1999 sequel, The Spy Who Shagged Me, which has now earned $205.4 million.
Counting the $3.5 million scored during its preview screenings Thursday, Goldmember has grossed $76.6 million, according to final studio tallies released Monday.
The only other flick opening wide was The Country Bears. The G-rated Buena Vista release, built around the antics of the Disney theme park critters, only managed a sixth-place bow, earning just $5.3 million for a per-site average of $2,080 at 2,553 theaters.
In very limited release, The Kid Stays in the Picture, an R-rated Focus Feature documentary focusing on the high and low life of Hollywood mogul Robert Evans, sniffed up a curiously strong $88,087 at just four sites. In contrast, few seemed to really want to know Who Is Cletis Tout?. The R-rated Paramount Classics dramedy about a Hollywood-obsessed hit man (Tim Allen) earned $64,867, averaging just $3,604 at 18 sites.
As expected, the Powers-powered overall box office was up 29 percent from last weekend. The top 12 films grossed an estimated $132.4 million--55 percent of the business pulled by Myers' laugher. However, the total was 8 percent lower than this time last year when Jurassic Park III was holding ground in solid second place behind the monster debut of Planet of the Apes.
Last week's two top movies both fell off about 30 percent. Road to Perdition slipped to second with $11.1 million to bring its three-week total to $65.6 million. The tiny mouse tale Stuart Little 2, which lost the top slot in a squeaker, was down to third with $10.6 million to bring its haul to $34.7 million.
Here is the rundown of the top 10 weekend movies as compiled by Exhibitor Relations from studio figure:
1. Austin Powers in Goldmember, $73.1 million
2. Road to Perdition, $11.1 million
3. Stuart Little 2, $10.6 million
4. Men in Black 2, $8.5 million
5. K-19: The Widowmaker, $7.3 million
6. The Country Bears, $5.3 million
7. Mr. Deeds, $4.2 million
8. Reign of Fire, $3.5 million
9. Minority Report , $3.1 million
10. My Big Fat Greek Wedding, $3 million
(Originally published 7/28/02 at 12:40 p.m. PT.)