Austin Powers has bested Dr. Evil plenty of times, but he couldn't muster enough mojo to beat "Signs" at the box office.
Though heavily hyped sequels, colorful superheroes and sci-fi action have proven to be this summer's biggest cash cows, filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan's simple and subtle alien mystery dominated the past weekend with a $60.3 million take, according to studio estimates. (Click for photos from "Signs.")
Starring Mel Gibson, "Signs" is about a former clergyman's faith and family, set against the backdrop of crop circles and possible alien invaders (see " 'I See Crop Circles,' 'Tuuurtle-Tuuurtle' Take On 'Goldmember' "). It muscled "Austin Powers in Goldmember," the third installment of Mike Myers' spy-spoof franchise, out of the top spot (see " 'Goldmember' Hotter Than Austin's Velvet Suits At Box Office"). The record-breaking comedy came in second with $32.4 million for an overall two-week take of $142.9 million.
"Signs" is now the second biggest August opening in history, right behind 2001's "Rush Hour 2," which opened with $67.4 million. It also accounts for Gibson and Shyamalan's biggest opening weekend successes to date. Shyamalan's last film, "Unbreakable," opened with $30 million in 2000, while his best-known work, "The Sixth Sense," opened with $27 million in 1999.
The weekend's other two new widely released films each debuted in the top 10. "The Master of Disguise," starring Dana Carvey ("Wayne's World"), drew enough folks with its family-friendly, good-natured humor to earn $13 million and open at #3. (Click for photos from "The Master Of Disguise.") Martin Lawrence's decidedly more adult-oriented comedy drove "Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat," a theatrical presentation of one of his stand-up performances, to the #4 spot with $7.5 million.
The rest of the top 10 includes Tom Hanks' "Road to Perdition," landing at #5 with another $6.6 million for an overall four-week total of $77.2 million; talking mouse kiddie caper "Stuart Little 2," down three places to #6 with $6 million in its third weekend for an overall total of $46.8 million; "Men in Black II" at #7 with $4.7 million for an overall total of $182 million in five weeks; "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" at #8 with $3 million for an overall total of $40 million in 16 weeks; "K-19: The Widowmaker," sinking at #9 with $3 million for an overall take of $30.8 million in three weeks; and "The Country Bears" at #10 with $3 million for an overall take of $11.7 million in two weeks.