The Memorial Day holiday is the traditional start of the Hollywood summer movie season and it promises to be one of the best ever. A pair of action blockbusters held over on top of the domestic box office chart boosted ticket sales into record territory: more than $200 million, the highest-grossing weekend in Hollywood history. Alan Silverman has the North America top five list starting with a star-powered revenge thriller at number five.
In Enough, a battered wife finally stands up to her abusive husband and, thanks to some martial arts training, gives him a dose of his own brutality. Jennifer Lopez stars.
"It is a psychological thiller, 'on the edge of your seat' type of movie, but it also does have a message and to me it is very clear. This is a movie. The circumstances are very extreme, even though we know this kind of thing happens. It doesn't matter what type or how bad the situation you are in is, you still have the power within yourself to change it or get out of it. That's the only person you can look to, to do that. That's what I liked about this movie. It was like a female 'Rocky.' It has the training and all that kind of stuff with entertainment value, but it also has a clear message and I think it's a positive one."
Michael Apted is the director and Enough opens up in fifth place.
Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron is a beautifully animated saga of a horse and his adventurous life in the "Old West" American frontier. Executive producer and DreamWorks studio animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg says Spirit posed unique challenges.
"When we set out to make this film it was a huge gamble," he explains. "The biggest of any animated film I've ever been involved with because it really is so different. It takes extraordinary risks. It's the first animated movie since The Lion King told through the eyes of an animal. Then you decide the animal is not going to speak. Then you decide it's going to be a musical but nobody is going to sing in the musical. You list all of these challenges and it's been scary, but great scary."
Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron gallops into fourth place in its first week out.
Oscar-winner Al Pacino plays a brilliant but flawed police detective in a duel of wits with a clever murderer played by Oscar-winner Robin Williams in the taut mystery new at number three: Insomnia.
Williams knows that audiences used to seeing him play "the nice guy" may be surprised by his this character.
"I just wanted to play a villain because I had always talked to people who said that it's so freeing in a weird way to do that," he says. "You're not bound by the normal rules. It was interesting to examine that kind of behavior. "
Also featuring Oscar-winner Hillary Swank, Insomnia awakens in third place.
Actor Willem Dafoe has played villains before, but the drama veteran says they've never been like his megalomaniac 'Green Goblin' in Spider-Man.
"I've never made movies that kids could see and I'm starting to anticipate the day that I'm in the grocery store and a little kid says 'mommy, the 'Green Goblin!' or going through a park and seeing a little kid taking a 'Green Goblin' doll and pounding it on the head. That's going to be odd because nothing like that has ever happened to me before," he says.
Dafoe's 'Green Goblin' battles Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man and the comic book-based action adventure remains a solid hit in second place; but the biggest box office force is still with writer/director George Lucas and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
Hayden Christensen plays a rebellious young Anakin Skywalker, who will eventually become the evil Darth Vader. Natalie Portman is the former queen he falls in love with; and Samuel L. Jackson plays Jedi Knight Mace Windu, an expert with the light saber weapon. Windu has a purple-colored light saber blade and Jackson says the reason is simple.
"I always make up interesting things to say about that, but the honest-to-goodness reason is I knew we were having these big battle scenes and I wanted to be able to identify myself in the middle of those scenes," he says.
For the second straight week, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is the most popular film at North American theaters.