Al Pacino signed up enough moviegoers to make his new spy thriller "The Recruit" the No. 1 movie in America in its opening weekend, with $16.5 million.
Pacino and Colin Farrell co-star as a CIA veteran who pulls a raw recruit into a deep cover operation. "Final Destination 2" opened at No. 2 with an estimated gross of $16.2 million, and the new Laurence Fishburne-Derek Luke motorcycle drama "Biker Boyz" was third with $10.1 million.
"Kangaroo Jack" came in at No. 4 in its third weekend with $9 million, for a running total of $45.9 million. "Darkness Falls" fell out of the top spot in its second week in release, finishing fifth with $7.5 million.
Golden Globe-winner "Chicago" was No. 6 with $7.1 million.
"The Lord of the Rings: The Towers" was seventh with $5 million, running its overall U.S. gross to $315.9 million -- surpassing the $313 million domestic gross for last year's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," the first of writer-director Peter Jackson's three adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's literary classics.
Overall, the U.S. box office took in $116 million -- up 17 percent over the same weekend last year.
So far in 2003, the box office has taken in $608.5 million. That's down 22 percent from last year's record-setting pace, but box-office analysts point out that the corresponding period of last year's calendar included one more weekend than this year's calendar has featured so far.
ANIMATORS HONOR 'SPIRIT' MOVIES
"Miyazaki's Spirited Away" and "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" were the big winners on Saturday at the 30th Annual Annie Awards, taking four Annies each.
"Miyazaki's Spirited Away" won the top prizes -- best feature, director, writer and music for an animated feature. "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" won for character design, effects animation, production design and Storyboarding in an animated feature.
Daveigh Chase won for best voice acting in an animated feature for his performance as the voice of Lilo "Lilo & Stitch." Corey Burton won for best voice acting in an animated TV production for his work as the voice of Ludwig Von Drake "Disney's House of Mouse."
"The Simpsons" was named best animated TV series.
The Annies were presented in Glendale, Calif., by AFISA-Hollywood, the International Animated Film Society.
STARS LINE UP FOR OSCARS
Oscars telecast producer Gil Gates announced Monday that Salma Hayek will be a presenter at the 75th Academy Awards.
It will be Hayek's third appearance as a presenter. There is also a strong chance that Hayek will be a nominee for best actress this year, for her performance in the title role of "Frida."
Hayek was nominated last week for a Screen Actors Guild Award for best performance by a female actor in a lead role. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
Her other screen credits include "Dogma," "Wild Wild West" and "Fools Rush In."
The 75th Academy Awards will be presented on March 23 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, in ceremonies to be televised live by ABC.
'ANGER MANAGEMENT' SCORES WITH SUPER BOWL AD
According to a report in Daily Variety, the ad jacked up the movie's "intent to purchase" factor by 200 percent. The ad monitoring group Intermedia Advertising Group said the Super Bowl ad raised the movie's awareness by 145 percent.
IAG measured the effectiveness of ads by interviewing some 6,000 people before and after the game. A company executive told Variety that an average TV promo increases awareness of a movie by 39 percent, and raises the "intent to purchase/attend" by 33 percent.
"Anger Management" stars Sandler as a man who is ordered to get therapy with an anger management specialist (Nicholson) who has anger issues of his own.
Other high-profile movies that advertised on this year's Super Bowl included Jim Carrey's "Bruce Almighty," Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines" and the Keanu Reeves' "The Matrix Reloaded."
NOT REALLY A 'BREAKFAST CLUB' REUNION
Two members of "The Breakfast Club" will work together again, 18 years after appearing in the teen movie, but the re-teaming is not exactly a club reunion.
Ally Sheedy will join Anthony Michael Hall in an upcoming episode of Hall's USA Network series "The Dead Zone." Sheedy and Hall shared the screen with Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson and Molly Ringwald in writer-director John Hughes' 1985 examination of high school social dynamics -- in which five kids from different cliques spent a Saturday together in the school library to atone for various violations of school rules.
The episode will also feature an appearance by John Kapelos -- known to "Breakfast Club" aficionados as Carl, the high school janitor from the movie.
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