November 13, 2003
victory dancing on the faces of hobbits

'Matrix Revolutions' sets all-time record
Film squeaks by 'Two Towers' for five-day take

LOS ANGELES, California (Hollywood Reporter) --Neo is indeed mightier at the box office than Frodo.

In a game of revision and counter-revision, the title holder for the biggest worldwide opening in history -- which has passed during the past few days from "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" to "The Matrix Revolutions" and then back to "Two Towers" -- is once again in the "Matrix" camp.

After adding in some late-arriving international grosses, Warner Bros. is now claiming victory for "The Matrix Revolutions," which amassed $202.8 million in its first five days since opening last Wednesday. That puts it slightly ahead of New Line's "Towers," which racked up $201.9 million in its first five days late last year.

The contest over bragging rights began Sunday when Warners estimated the five-day opening of "Revolutions" at $204 million. The studio issued a news release dated Monday that hailed the film as "the biggest consecutive five-day opening in motion picture history."

At the time, New Line's last-reported tally on "Towers" stood at $201.4 million.

Advantage: Warners.

But later Monday, Warners revised its number down slightly -- to $201.4 million.

That would have put Warners in a dead heat with New Line, except that since New Line last reported its $201.4 million figure in May, it revised the "Towers" number, raising it to $201.9 million, which put "Towers" $500,000 ahead of "Revolutions."

Advantage: New Line.

On Wednesday, however, as a few more international dollars trickled in, Warners revised its "Revolutions" take up to $202.8 million, slightly above the revised New Line number on "Towers."

Current winner: Warners.

Overall winner: Time Warner, which owns both studios. (It's also the parent company of CNN.)

"We've never released this broadly before and in this many countries, so it's been an incredible challenge coming up with an accurate box office count for this many territories," said Veronica Kwan-Rubinek, president of Warner Bros. Pictures International Theatrical Distribution.

"When we released in 107 markets, we were in many territories that we don't traditionally track daily box office figures."

"Revolutions" went out in a record 94 countries, 107 markets and with more than 10,000 prints internationally in an unprecedented day-and-date, hour-to-hour release November 5.

Kwan-Rubinek also noted that various countries were on holiday Monday, which delayed getting accurate numbers, and she also said that smaller countries usually take extra time to tally.

The newly revised international box office for "Revolutions" is $119 million, up slightly from the $117.6 million reported by the distributor Monday. In either case, in terms of its international grosses, "Revolutions" easily topped the first five days of "Two Towers" in the international marketplace, which brought in $99.8 million.

"Revolutions" earned a relatively disappointing $83.8 million in its first five days of release in North America, compared with about $102 million for "Two Towers."

In its first seven days, "Revolutions" has amassed a worldwide gross of $232.2 million, with $93.6 million coming from the domestic side and $138.6 million from international receipts. Traditionally, the international side of the "Matrix" series has outperformed the domestic side, and the third film in the series looks to continue that pattern.

red pill | from inside the mind of krix at November 13, 2003 07:44 AM .

Now, I have this distinct urge to avoid ROTK in the first five day. Oh, I'll still see it, but I think I'll wait....

Posted by: SeaSing, the peevish... on November 13, 2003 08:48 AM

I can do you one better - to quote a guy in the theater watching trailers before Revolutions began, "That's a rental."

Posted by: Chianti, the Belligerent on November 13, 2003 09:09 AM

*shrug* I really enjoy the LOTR trilogy. I've been a fan of the books for at least 15 years, and the director is doing a great job bringing the story "to life" on the screen.

I'm happy two of my favorite movie trilogies are doing so well. :)

Posted by: Mikey2 on November 13, 2003 10:47 AM

I rented the first two and enjoyed them, they're great epic movies. I don't get the hobbit-luv but that's just me and my 6' height requirement.

I also understand that this is just all numbers that are easily manipulated. I'm sure that the worldwide simultaneous release helped pad those.

And ultimately, like it says, the winner in all this is Time Warner.

And Hugo. ;)

Posted by: krix on November 13, 2003 10:53 AM

LOL, Chianti!

I will go see ROTK on the big screen, for a lot of reasons (including Mr. Weaving's performance and Mr. Bloom's stride). I actually stood in line an eon ago to get in to see the animated version when it was first released - I do love the stories.

I think I'm just annoyed that the success (or perceived failure) of a film these days seems to be based on (as krix pointed out) easily manipulated numbers. Waiting is my drop-in-the-bucket bit of manipulating.

Posted by: SeaSing on November 13, 2003 12:06 PM

In my book, if a film makes more money than it cost to produce, then it's a success.

What, is there some sort of side-contest going on in the film industry that I'm not aware of? :)

Posted by: Mikey2 on November 13, 2003 12:23 PM

Not sure what you mean by side-contest, Mikey. Most of the producers/press, etc. do play the numbers game, which is why sites like are so popular. Number claims also help the marketing folks promote the film.

The rule of thumb used to be (not sure it still is) that a film had to make 1/3 to 1/2 more than production costs just to break even. In the case of MRev, I saw the quote of $100 million for marketing, which means that the film will need to gross over $350 million just to break even. That's a whopping amount for any film to bring in, so every little marketing oomph that can be gained from earning claims helps.

This is also one more reason all the "it was a disappointment" headlines are so annoying to me.

Posted by: SeaSing on November 13, 2003 12:51 PM

Can't wait to see ROTK. I've seen the trailer and if the film is as good, then it's going to be GREAT! I've always loved the LOTR books and it's wonderful to see them brought to life like this. Kudos to Peter Jackson!

(NO, krix, I don't have a hobbit fetish. I'm very much with you on the 6' height requirement. Don't like hairy feet either, or ANY very hairy bodypart below the neck...)

Me, I'm a sucker for films. I'm one of those idiots who sit through the entire credits - yes, every time - in the hope of catching that funny added scene that everyone else has missed because they've already left the building...

So I'll probably end up seeing EVERYTHING that's coming to my local theatres. Kill Bill. Master and Commander. Love Actually. Finding Nemo. Calendar Girls. (And some more that I don't know of yet.)

Ah, it really doesn't take much to make me happy.

Posted by: Maddi on November 13, 2003 02:29 PM

It cracks me up that talking about film grosses is something everyone does. Once upon a time, only the people in the industry cared. Now the whole world does. :)

Posted by: :: jozjozjoz :: on November 13, 2003 02:46 PM
What's on your mind?.....
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