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<i> Bad Boys II</i> Tops US Most Popular Movies List - 2003-07-23

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are bad and that means good news at the box office for their slam-bang action sequel. Also new to the top films chart this week: a slapstick spy spoof crosses the Atlantic after scoring a big success in Europe. Alan Silverman lists this week's top five films at North American theaters starting with another action sequel at number five.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as the robot warrior from the future in Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines, second sequel to the saga that began with the first Terminator movie almost 20 years ago. If, as expected, Schwarzenegger launches a political career by running for California governor, the body-builder-turned-actor says he is not quitting his day job just yet.

"I'm looking forward to doing many more films," says Schwarzenegger. "Right now we're getting ready to put together Westworld, which is going to be one of the next projects. So we are moving forward with full steam and I don't see why I should be stopping at this point.

The very big budget T-3 has not performed up to expectations; its ticket sales plummeted more than 50 percent a week and in three weeks at theaters it has grossed only a bit more than half of its estimated $200 million production costs. Terminator 3 ends up in fifth place.

Suave, debonair, highly skilled: Johnny English is none of those things, but he is the only agent left in the British secret service who can stop a plot to usurp the throne. Rowan Atkinson stars in the feature film based on a character he created for a series of TV commercials in England. As Johnny English Oxford-educated Atkinson does whatever it takes to get a laugh from slapstick fight scenes to slogging through sewag.

"I do enjoy very silly, very low humor, I'm afraid, and I don't mind admitting it. It's yet another example of the duality in my personality and my tastes," he says. "I love very verbal comedy and subtle, erudite comedy... and I love the most basic, childish jokes that you could imagine. I derive equal pleasure from both and I'm not pretending to enjoy them because I think a mass audience will enjoy them. Actually this film as with all the films and TV shows I've done is genuinely reflective of the range of my appreciation ... and they make me laugh."

Co-starring Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia, Johnny English comes to America already a hit in its home territory; and the comedy debuts stateside at number four.

The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen is an action-adventure that brings together a collection of 19th century literary characters from 'The Invisible Man' to 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' to soldier-of-fortune Allan Quatermain.

Sean Connery stars as Quatermain and The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen slips a spot to number three.

Inspired by the long-popular amusement park ride at Disneyland, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl stars Geoffrey Rush as leader of a mutiny against pirate captain Johnny Depp who enlists the help of Orlando Bloom to get his vessel back and, in the process, rescue captured but, by no means helpless, Keira Knightley.

"It was fantastic. It was me and all my boys," she says. "I enjoyed it a lot and they're so good looking. I always had eye candy, apart from them being very dirty a lot of the time and rather smelly as well, being in the Caribbean and it being very hot; but it was fantastic and I had a great laugh."

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl is a solid hit in second place, but it's bumped from the top spot by the return of a pair of wisecracking, hard-charging, straight-shooting Miami police detectives in the sequel to the 1995 hit Bad Boys.

The action is hotter in Bad Boys II for co-stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.

"Every movie you get an opportunity to really work on your craft. I know some people say they don't watch their work and all that; but I watch my work and I try to get better. I try to figure what I can do to get better," says Smith.

Bad Boys II has a big opening weekend and shoots up to number one: the new most popular movie at North American theaters.