Travolta debuts at top of the charts

— John Travolta's new thriller "Swordfish" hooked enough movie-goers to debut as the weekend's top film, earning $18.4 million.

"Swordfish" stars Travolta playing a villainous agent out to steal billions to finance anti-terrorist attacks.

Holding well, the animated "Shrek" retained the No. 2 spot with $17.1 million, pushing its four-week total to $176.6 million. "Pearl Harbor," the No. 1 film for two straight weekends, slipped to third place with $14.9 million, raising its total to $144.1 million after three weeks.

The David Duchovny-Julianne Moore comedy "Evolution" debuted at No. 4 with $13.2 million. Directed by Ivan Reitman ("Ghostbusters"), "Evolution" tells the story of bumbling scientists battling alien lifeforms.

Despite generally bad reviews, "Swordfish" wound up as Travolta's third-best debut ever, behind "Face/Off" and "The General's Daughter." "Swordfish" also soundly beat the openings of Travolta's last two movies, the black comedy "Lucky Numbers" and "Battlefield Earth," one of Hollywood's biggest bombs in years.

Playing in 2,678 locations, "Swordfish" averaged a solid $6,882 a theater. "Shrek" averaged $4,603 in 3,715 theaters, "Pearl Harbor" did $4,578 in 3,255 locations and "Evolution" averaged $5,056 in 2,611 cinemas.

Disney had promising news for a trial run of "Atlantis: The Lost Empire," which opened to packed houses, grossing $341,588 at two theaters in New York City and Los Angeles.


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