LOS ANGELES -- Tom Cruise and John Woo made millions possible with ''Mission: Impossible 2'' as the spy sequel ushered in a record Memorial Day weekend at the box office to kick off the summer movie season.
Cruise and director Woo's glitzy thriller took in $70.8 million over the four-day weekend, pushing its total since opening May 24 to $91.8 million, distributor Paramount said Tuesday.
That is $1 million less than Paramount had estimated a day earlier, but its gross still was about $17 million more than ''Mission: Impossible'' took in during its first six days over Memorial Day weekend in 1996.
With holdovers ''Dinosaur,'' ''Gladiator'' and ''Road Trip'' remaining solid and Jackie Chan's ''Shanghai Noon'' debuting strongly, the overall weekend box office hit $183.7 million for the top 50 films. That smashed the Memorial Day record of $147.9 million in 1997, when ''Jurassic Park: The Lost World'' opened.
The weekend also was the best four-day holiday ever at the box office, edging the $183.3 million gross for the top 50 films from Thursday to Sunday over Christmas 1997, when ''Titanic'' was in theaters.
The big weekend gave another boost to Hollywood's prospects for a third straight year of record revenues. It also was a promising start toward beating last year's all-time summer high of $3 billion at the box office.
''I was very skeptical that this summer could beat last summer till I saw how strong this weekend was,'' said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, which tracks the box office.
Through Monday, movies had grossed $2.68 billion domestically this year, up 10 percent from 1999, which set a box-office record for the year of $7.5 billion.
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