The animated comedy "Ice Age" opened in first place at the nation's box office with an estimated $47.9 million at 3,316 theaters during the Friday-Sunday period, studio sources said.
The 20th Century Fox release, produced by Blue Sky Studios, took advantage of the continued strong appetite for family-oriented films such as "Shrek," "Monsters Inc." and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." "Ice Age" smashed the five-year old record for top March opening set by "Liar, Liar" by more than $16 million.
Sony's opening of "Resident Evil," a film version of the video game of the same name, came in a distant but solid second with $18.2 million at 2,528 theaters.
Warner Bros.' debut of "Showtime," an action comedy starring Eddie Murphy and Robert DeNiro, also performed respectably in third with $15.4 million at 2,917 locations.
Last weekend's winner, DreamWorks "The Time Machine," finished fourth with $10.9 million at 2,958 theaters. Paramount's third weekend of "We Were Soldiers" followed with $8.8 million at 3,143 theaters to give it nearly $54 million after its first 17 days, making it the third military movie to receive solid support after "Behind Enemy Lines" and "Black Hawk Down."
Rounding out the top 10 were "All About the Benjamins," "40 Days and 40 Nights," "John Q," "A Beautiful Mind," and "Return to Never Land."
LIZA MINELLI'S WEDDING
Entertainer Liza Minelli tied the knot for the fourth time last Saturday in New York.
Gossip columnist Liz Smith called it "the kissiest wedding I've ever seen," according to Jam Music's Web site. "They kissed the whole time," Smith said of Minnelli and her groom, producer David Gest.
Other attendees said Minnelli danced at the altar after taking her marriage vows.
Best man Michael Jackson carried the train of Minnelli's white silk Bob Mackie dress until maid of honor Marisa Berenson remembered her duties, guests told reporters clustered outside the Marble Collegiate Church.
Celebrity guests included actors Anthony Hopkins, Michael Douglas, Mickey Rooney and David Hasselhoff, rocker Elton John, TV news personalities Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters, comedian Phyllis Diller and singer Robert Goulet.
The newlyweds, who'll honeymoon in Thailand, were introduced by Jackson last year when Minnelli appeared in Gest's television production of "Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special."
Arnold Schwarzenegger was honored Sunday night for his work with the Inner-City Games Foundation and Special Olympics.
The actor received the "Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award" during the eighth annual Celebrity Fight Night in Phoenix, Ariz., which benefits Phoenix-based charities including The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Research Center at Barrow Neurological Institute and Childhelp USA.
Hosted by talk show hosts Larry King and Merv Griffin, the event featured such celebrity guests as Evander Holyfield, Dennis Quaid, Bo Derek, Alice Cooper, Lionel Richie, The Pointer Sisters and Steve Young. Ali was also on hand, sitting ringside with Schwarzenegger. Arizona Diamondbacks players Luis Gonzalez, Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson also attended the event, along with Diamondbacks Owner Jerry Colangelo.