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