The Force was certainly with the movie business this year, as major hauls from "Spider-Man" and "Star Wars" helped super-power the box office past a record-breaking $1.57 billion.
Featuring a mega-starmaking turn from Tobey Maguire in the web-slinging title role, "Spider-Man" was the year's #1 film with a $406 million total, according to Exhibitor Relations figures released on Monday. The Jedi magic of "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones" was right behind it at #2 with $310 million.
The year's #3 movie was another magic-themed sequel. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" took in $240 million, besting the $227 million of the year's #4 film, the Mel Gibson alien mystery "Signs," from filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan.
At #5, the independently financed "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was perhaps the year's biggest surprise hit, eventually making $218 million during an astounding 37-week run in theaters. Despite much bigger stars and a much larger marketing campaign, the Mike Myers/ Beyoncé Knowles-led farce "Austin Powers in Goldmember" came in behind "Greek Wedding" at #6 with $213 million.
The year's #7 movie would certainly have ranked higher were it released sooner. "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," which has broken three December records, has taken in $200 million so far — more than the summer release "Men in Black 2," which earned $192 million to land at #8.
Rounding out the year's top 10: the animated "Ice Age" at #9 with $176 million, and the cartoon-turned-live-action film "Scooby-Doo" at #10 with $153 million.
According to data from box-office tracker Nielsen EDI, this year's $1.57 billion box-office haul breaks the previous record set in 1998.
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