Weekend Box Office (January 16 - 19, 2004)


by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND The romantic comedy Along Came Polly ended the four-week box office rule of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King by generating a strong number one debut over the four-day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.  The Ben Stiller-Jennifer Aniston pic grossed $32.5M from 2,984 theaters over the Friday-to-Monday period, according to final figures.  Universalís PG-13 film about a risk-averse man and a free-spirited woman averaged a potent $10,875 per location.  Polly drew upon an audience of young women as females made up 60% of the crowd with 53% under the age of 30, according to studio research.

Budgeted at $42M, Along Came Polly delivered the second best bow over the MLK holiday frame (after Black Hawk DownĎs $33.6M in 2002) and the third largest opening ever in the month of January (after Star Wars: Special Editionís $35.9M from 1997 and Hawk).  Reviews for Polly were not generally kind, but the star combination and the light-hearted storyline helped bring in a large paying audience. The three-day opening was $27.7M.

After four weeks at number one, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King dropped down to second place with $12.5M over four days.  Off only 12% when compared to last week's three-day frame, the New Line smash boosted its domestic gross to $329M which puts it at number ten on the list of all-time blockbusters between 1994's Forrest Gump ($329.7M) and that same year's The Lion King ($328.5M including recent Imax grosses).  Worldwide, The Return of the King has amassed a gigantic $826M thus far.  Domestically, the trilogy ender continues to run 9.6% ahead of the pace of The Two Towers which stood at $300.1M at the same point last year. On the international front, the pic is outperforming the last installment by a whopping 25%.

Dropping to third place was Tim Burtonís Big Fish with $12.3M, off 11%.  The Sony release averaged $4,907 from 2,514 venues and has taken in $39.9M to date. About even with last week's three-day weekend gross was Foxís Cheaper by the Dozen which took in $11.9M and has grossed $115.1M to date. 

Debuting in fifth place was the Ice Cube actioner Torque with $11.4M from 2,463 theaters.  The PG-13 film averaged a decent $4,646 per location for Warner Bros. Over three days, the biker pic collected $10M.

The Miramax Civil War drama Cold Mountain followed in sixth place with $7.9M.  With the help of 500 additional theaters, the Nicole Kidman-Jude Law pic inched up less than 1% and has taken in $66M thus far.

Crossing the $100M mark was the Jack Nicholson-Diane Keaton comedy Somethingís Gotta Give which collected $6.7M.  The Sony release declined 13% and raised its cume to $101.7M.  Nicholson joins Harrison Ford as actors who have had $100M hits in each of the last four decades.

Tumbling 41% in its second weekend was the parenting comedy My Babyís Daddy with $4.4M.  With $13.2M in the bank after eleven days, the Miramax release should find its way to around $20M. In ninth was Buena Vistaís Calendar Girls which collected $3.9M for a $18M total.

Jack Nicholsonís A Few Good Men pal Tom Cruise also joined the century club over the weekend as The Last Samurai placed tenth with $3.7M, off 19%, boosting the tally to $102.6M.  The Warner Bros. title is the eleventh $100M blockbuster for the Oscar-seeking actor and his fourth straight in as many years. Internationally, Samurai overtook The Return of the King to swipe the number one spot over the weekend with $40.6M from 31 territories boosting the overseas gross to $157.6M.

Opening poorly with $3.6M over four days was the Disney animated feature Teacherís Pet.  The PG-rated toon based on the popular television series played in 2,027 theaters and averaged a pitiful $1,777 per location. The three-day gross was a mere $2.5M.

Three films dropped from the top ten over the weekend.  Mandy Mooreís latest flop Chasing Liberty fell 43% to $3.5M in its second weekend.  The Warner Bros. release has taken in only $10.7M in eleven days and should finish with around $15M.

Paramountís Paycheck tumbled 42% to $3M for a $50.9M total.  The Ben Affleck thriller should reach $55-57M.  Julia Roberts watched her Mona Lisa Smile droop 42% to $2.6M.  The Sony title has grossed $60.9M and is headed for $65-67M.

The top ten films grossed $107.2M over the four-day weekend which was down 5% from last year when Kangaroo Jack opened at number one with $21.9M, and down 13% from 2002 when Black Hawk Down expanded nationally and topped the charts with $33.6M.


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# Title Jan 16 - 19 Jan. 9 - 11 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Along Came Polly $ 32,450,825 2,984 1 $ 10,875 $ 32,450,825 Universal
2 LOTR: The Return of the King 12,447,761 14,209,098 -12.4 3,003 5 4,145 329,040,393 New Line
3 Big Fish 12,336,971 13,811,191 -10.7 2,514 6 4,907 39,888,222 Sony
4 Cheaper by the Dozen 11,873,331 11,751,349 1.0 3,025 4 3,925 115,075,464 Fox
5 Torque 11,442,203 2,463 1 4,646 11,442,203 Warner Bros.
6 Cold Mountain 7,945,318 7,881,729 0.8 2,802 4 2,836 65,965,857 Miramax
7 Something's Gotta Give 6,721,767 7,727,359 -13.0 2,502 6 2,687 101,683,127 Sony
8 My Baby's Daddy 4,433,788 7,548,819 -41.3 1,448 2 3,062 13,174,496 Miramax
9 Calendar Girls 3,864,120 967 5 3,996 18,002,429 Buena Vista
10 The Last Samurai 3,707,472 4,550,419 -18.5 1,403 7 2,643 102,583,643 Warner Bros.
11 Teacher's Pet 3,602,245 2,027 1 1,777 3,602,245 Buena Vista
12 Chasing Liberty 3,453,487 6,081,483 -43.2 2,400 2 1,439 10,677,289 Warner Bros.
13 Peter Pan 3,149,590 4,182,415 -24.7 1,649 4 1,910 43,968,270 Universal
14 Paycheck 2,967,416 5,146,378 -42.3 1,984 4 1,496 50,894,692 Paramount
15 Mona Lisa Smile 2,553,361 4,383,072 -41.7 1,836 5 1,391 60,913,606 Sony
16 Monster 1,805,095 844,012 113.9 221 4 8,168 3,562,736 NewMarket
17 The Cooler 1,330,763 304,638 336.8 396 8 3,361 3,751,701 Lions Gate
18 21 Grams 1,278,497 1,254,050 1.9 411 9 3,111 10,934,562 Focus
19 House of Sand and Fog 1,227,002 1,420,267 -13.6 598 5 2,052 9,261,494 DreamWorks
20 In America 1,027,209 914,429 12.3 286 8 3,592 8,001,848 Fox Searchlight
Top 5 $ 80,551,091 $ 55,380,726 45.4
Top 10 107,223,556 83,090,897 29.0
Top 20 129,618,221 99,152,613 30.7
Top 20 vs. 2003 129,618,221 139,988,846 -7.4


Last Updated : January 20, 2004 at 6:00PM EST

Gitesh Pandya can be seen each Friday on "The Biz" airing at 12:30pm and 9:30pm ET on CNNfn.