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Monday, 22 April, 2002, 08:31 GMT 09:31 UK
Scorpion King slays US box office
The Scorpion King
The Mummy franchise is still delivering
The Scorpion King has broken US box office records for April and established wrestling star The Rock as a bankable action star.

The spin-off from The Mummy took $36.2m (25m) on its weekend debut and went straight to the top of the box office chart.

The WWF wrestler's vehicle set a record for best opening weekend in April, beating the $27.8m (19.2m) debut of The Matrix in 1999.

US box office chart
1. The Scorpion King
2. Changing Lanes
3. Murder by Numbers
4. The Rookie
5. Panic Room
6. Ice Age
7. The Sweetest Thing
8. High Crimes
9. Clockstoppers
10. National Lampoon's Van Wilder
Last weekend's top movie, Changing Lanes, slipped to second place with $11.1m (7.7m), pushing its total to $32.8m (22.7) in 10 days, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

The weekend's other new general release, Sandra Bullock's crime thriller Murder by Numbers, had an average debut of $9.5m (6.6m), coming in third.

Hollywood continues to enjoy buoyant weekends, with the top 12 films taking in $93.1m (64.3m), up 38% from the same weekend a year ago.

The industry is well ahead of the record box office pace of last year, when movies grossed $8.4bn (5.8bn) domestically.

The Scorpion King followed the pattern of The Mummy in 1999 and The Mummy Returns last year, which had big spring openings.

Smaller budget

"Summer began on 19 April this year," said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal, which released The Scorpion King.

Made on two-thirds of the budget of its predecessor, The Scorpion King took much less than both The Mummy and The Mummy Returns.

The Mummy opened with $43.4m (30m), and The Mummy Returns - in which The Rock's Scorpion King character was first seen - opened with $68.1m (47m).

"I think expectations were incredibly high for Scorpion King. A lot of people were talking it up as the opening shot of summer," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

With no major action films opening next weekend, The Scorpion King is again expected to do well before Spider-Man starts the main summer season.

See also:

26 Apr 02 | Scotland
'Curse' strikes Mummy film showing
18 May 01 | Reviews
Recycled return for Mummy
14 May 01 | Film
Mummy reigns at US box office
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