Demonstrating convincingly that movie audiences don't really care all that much whether an animated film is produced by human hands or by computers -- so long as the script is compelling -- the hand-drawn (in Korea) The Simpsons Movie took in an estimated $71.85 million over the weekend -- well above analysts' estimates. Twentieth Century Fox boasted that the movie opened with bigger box-office results than any Pixar film. (Among animated films, it was exceeded only by the first two Shrek movies.) It was responsible for 55 percent of all ticket sales overseas, piling up an additional $96 million although debuting in just 8 of the top-15 overseas markets. "I had been saying this is America's No. 1 comedy family, but forget the 'America' part -- this is the Earth's No. 1 comedy family," Chris Aronson, senior vice president for distribution at Fox, told today's (Monday) Los Angeles Times. Domestically, last week's top film, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, fell about 44 percent from last week to $19.1 million, slipping to second place. Three new films also made the top-ten list (two of them, just barely). No Reservations, the Catherine Zeta-Jones romantic comedy entered at No. 5 with $11.8 million, but the Lindsay Lohan starrer, I Know Who Killed me, seemed DOA at $3.4 million (Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News commented Saturday, that even Lohan's "mug shot was made with more skill than this bottom-of-the-barrel B-movie), while the urban comedy Who's Your Caddy? (Wesley Morris in the Boston Globe called for the United Negro College Fund to be alerted: "A mind has terribly gone to waste") ended in the rough with $2.9 million.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers:
1. The Simpsons Movie, $71.9 million; 2. I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, $19.1 million; 3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, $17.1 million; 4. Hairspray, $15.6 million; 5. No Reservations, $11.8 million; 6. Transformers, $11.5 million; 7. Ratatouille, $7.2 million; 8. Live Free or Die Hard, $5.4 million; 9. I Know Who Killed Me, $3.4 million; 10. Who's Your Caddy?, $2.9 million.