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|
|4||Cheaper by the Dozen||11,873,331||11,751,349||1.0||3,025||4||3,925||115,075,464||Fox|
|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.|
|15||Mona Lisa Smile||2,553,361||4,383,072||-41.7||1,836||5||1,391||60,913,606||Sony|
|17||The Cooler||1,330,763||304,638||336.8||396||8||3,361||3,751,701||Lions Gate|
|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 20 vs. 2003||129,618,221||139,988,846||-7.4|
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Data source: Exhibitor Relations, EDI. Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
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.