Thursday, May 25, 2006

Da Vinci Code hauls in $224 m worldwide

Moviegoers gave their blessing to The Da Vinci Code over the weekend, spending an estimated $77 million to see the Tom Hanks religious thriller.While the film didn't set a domestic box office record, it was the largest weekend opening of the year so far and became the second largest worldwide release after Star Wars: Episode III. It garnered some $224 million worldwide.

The total box office was down about 2.8 percent from the same weekend last year, according to studio estimates released Sunday. But that's a tough comparison given that last year's numbers included the record-setting debut of Star Wars: Episode III.The film received mixed reviews and protesters picketed outside a number of theaters, upset over the story's suggestion that Jesus Christ was married and had a child. But the controversy did little to deter moviegoers, who packed theaters in almost every country the film debuted.

The animated film Over the Hedge had a strong showing with its $37.2 million as part of a counter-programming strategy from distributor Paramount Pictures. The Tom Cruise action film Mission: Impossible III crossed the $100 million mark in its third weekend with a total domestic box office take of $103 million.

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