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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 May, 2003, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Matrix Reloaded's $93m debut
Keanu Reeves in The Matrix Reloaded
The sequel is again loaded with eye-popping special effects

Long-awaited sci-fi sequel The Matrix Reloaded has taken a near-record $93.3m (£58.2m) during its first weekend at US cinemas.

The film's massive takings make it the second biggest opening of all time behind Spider-Man, according to studio estimates released on Sunday.

The movie, starring Keanu Reeves, took a record-breaking $42.5m (£26.5m) on its first day at the North American box office.

But Spider-Man still holds the weekend record with a $115m (£71m) start in 2002.

The Matrix Reloaded poster in Thailand
The Matrix Reloaded debuted in more than 20 countries
The Matrix Reloaded opened properly on Thursday - preceded by some late screenings on Wednesday.

Its distributor, Warner Bros, has included Wednesday's receipts - estimated to be about $5m (£3.1m) - with the Thursday total of $42.5m (£26.5m).

It opened its run in more than 20 countries simultaneously and by the end of its third week it will be showing in more than 100 countries.

A sequel to the groundbreaking 1999 film The Matrix, it stars Reeves as a resistance fighter who battles an army of machines that seek to take control of the last human city.

It will be followed in November by a third movie, The Matrix Revolutions. All three films were written and directed by brothers Larry and Andy Wachowski.

In the US the sequel has been given a R-rating - or Restricted for violence and sexuality - meaning that children aged 17 and younger are not supposed to see it without a parent or adult guardian.

Industry watchers say this restriction makes its early box office success all the more remarkable.

Warner Bros is reported to have spent $300m (£187m) on making the two follow-ups.

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