THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 top-grossing feature films

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 19 December 2003 10:50AM

1. The Matrix: Reloaded; Directors: Andy and Larry Wachowski; Box office gross: £33.2m. Never the stirring sequel to The Matrix everyone was panting for, murmurs that Reloaded would give the series the same mythical status as the Star Wars trilogy were way off the mark. If anything, the Wachowski brothers tried too hard: their over-eager attempts to make something profound were a bit too much to swallow. Still, if you were in it for rocking fight sequences served ultra-cool, Reloaded was the ultimate in eye candy.

2. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Director: Gore Verbinski

Box office gross: £27.7m

Amusing, action-packed and full of eye-catching performances -- particularly from Johnny Depp as a crazed post-modern pirate -- Disney lived up to its credentials as the master maker of summer action blockbusters for all the family. Unlike its clunky title, an easily consumable feature with the swashbuckling appeal of the Indiana Jones series.

3. Bruce Almighty

Director: Tom Shadyac

Box office gross: £23.6m

The box-office darling Jim Carrey plays the down-on-his-luck newscaster Bruce who blames God for a string of misfortunes.

Tired of taking so much flak, God (played by the Hollywood deity Morgan Freedman) challenges Bruce to do any better. Yet another money-spinner on the back of the rubber-faced comic, it took $170m in its first three weeks in the US.

4. X2: X-Men United

Director: Bryan Singer

Box office gross: £20.6m

After raking in more than $150m in the US, a sequel to X-Men was inevitable. X2 was rated by many as even better than the hugely enjoyable mutant melodrama original. But a bigger budget this time allowed for better special effects and more impressive action sequences on top of a web of plots, sub-plots, twists and turns.

5. Johnny English

Director: Peter Howitt

Box office gross: £19.6m

In this spoof spy flick, Rowan Atkinson plays the same bumbling British intelligence officer who appeared in a series of Barclaycard ads with his side-kick Boff. After all his fellow agents are suddenly assassinated, it's left to hapless pencil-pusher Johnny English (Atkinson) to save the crown jewels and the Royal Family. Not the Austin Powers clone we expected, the film was more Bean than Bond.

6. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Director: Jonathan Mostow

Box office gross: £18.9m

California's new governor was back for the third instalment of the post-apocalyptic conflict between man and machine. Not the all-consuming epic to match its forerunners, but a drip-feed of jaw-dropping special effects, Arnie's comically wooden acting and the sinister charm of the T-X cyborg (played by Kristanna Loken) made for an endurable two hours.

7. Calendar Girls

Director: Nigel Cole

Box office gross: £17.2m

Dubbed the next 'Full Monty', the homegrown true story of the Yorkshire housewives who pose nude for an alternative Women's Institute calendar, was a winning blend of earthy humour and familiar faces behaving badly. Helen Mirren and Julie Walters packed in the one-liners -- and the audiences -- in this quirky character-based comedy.

8. American Pie: The Wedding

Director: Jesse Dylan

Box office gross: £17.0m

The final chapter in the gross-out series that began with a boy masturbating with a warm apple pie ended as a sweet story about a pair of quirky twentysomethings preparing for their wedding day. But rumours abound of another sequel. Could 'American Family', the tale of a dysfunctional family with parents who fail to shake their adolescent ways, continue to pull in the pounds at the box office?

9. Finding Nemo

Directors: Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich

Box office gross: £16.1m

The imaginative minds behind Toy Story, A Bug's Life and Monsters Inc returned with a magical fish-eat-fish world of fun for kids. The ocean and its creatures are perfect subjects for Pixar's colourful computer-generated animation. A tad more sober than its previous wacky features, it was a touching tale of the relationship between a protective father and a son thirsty for his first taste of freedom.

10. Catch Me if You Can

Director: Steven Spielberg

Box office gross: £15.1m

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks get bums on seats in this cat-and-mouse thriller based on a true story. Directed by the Hollywood supremo Steven Spielberg, a wayward young Frank Abagnale (DiCaprio) grows up to become a debonair master cheque forger and impersonator who soon has a dogged FBI sleuth (Hanks) on his tail.

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This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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