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Keanu Scores a MuchNeeded Hit with “The Day the Earth Stood Still”

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Authored by Jon Mercer in Movies and Television
Published on 12-22-2008

Film distributor 20th Century Fox has just released a remake to the 1951 science fiction thriller, “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” The film debuted Sunday to terrible revues by most of the nation’s film critics, but has received rave revues from moviegoers: it was ranked No. 1 at the box office on its first day of release.

“The Day the Earth Stood Still” grossed an estimated $31 million in ticket sales on Friday, its very first day of release, in the United States and Canada. Internationally, the film also scored big with a whopping $39 million in ticket sales in 90 foreign markets. Fox representatives say that the movie was also ranked No. 1 in 53 non-US markets over the weekend, making it a world-wide blockbuster. Of the International markets screening the film over the weekend, Russia and Britain led the way with $5.6 and $4.1 million in estimated sales respectively.

“The Day The Earth Stood Still”, which cost about $80 million to produce according to Fox, is Keanu’s biggest film opening since his 2003 blockbuster release in the “Matrix” franchise, “The Matrix Revolutions”, which debuted with $48 million in ticket sales during its opening weekend. The new film bumped the holiday comedy “Four Christmases” out of the No. slot. “Four Christmases” slipped to No.2 after only two weeks at the top position, but its total sales since release are estimated to be a very respectable $88 million, according to Warner Brothers Pictures.

Reeves, who co-stars in the film with Jenifer Connelly, plays an alien who comes to this planet to try to save the Earth from itself. The film makes a political as well as an environmental statement, and it is Keanu’s first big budget film since the “Matrix” series. The actor has chosen smaller roles over the last few years, starring in several art-house films before his role as the alien Klaatu in “The Day The Earth Stood Still.” Reeves stared in the relatively low-budget film, “Thumbsucker,” in 2005 and in the critically panned release, “The Lake House” in 2006.

One other new entry made the top ten this weekend — Overture Film’s “Nothing like the Holidays” came in at No. 7, with $3.5 million in estimated ticket sales. The Latin-themed ensemble Christmas picture was expected to open in the $5 to $6 million range by many movie industry analysts.

The top five films this week are rounded out by “Twilight”, a vampire romance saga, which came in at No. 3, and the animated film “Bolt” at No.4. Bringing up the rear, the mega-budgeted “Australia” debuted at No.5.

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