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King too Big for Competition

January 12th, 2004

None of the wide releases were able to mount much of an attack on last weekend's top five. And with the exception of a limited release going wide there was little change. The lack of a dominate opener helped push the total box office lower by more than 25% from last week and 6% from last year. So much for last weekend's strong start to 2004.

It was an impressive weekend for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Not only did it finish first for the fourth weekend in a row, (a feat not done since The Fellowship of the Ring), it topped $300 million in just 24 days, two shy of the record (see the list. It did fail to live up to box office predictions, meaning it is still shy of the total box office that the first film earned, but that will fall in a couple of days.

After coming in first on Friday, Big Fish beat expectations by less than $1 million, finishing the weekend with $13.8 million. It also had the best Per Theatre average in the top ten, or top twenty for that matter. Continued critical praise and some more awards could make Big Fish this year's A Beautiful Mind and push it past $100 million. It's too early to tell.

At $11.8 million, Cheaper by the Dozen lived up to expectations almost perfectly. It also crossed $100 million on Sunday, becoming the 26th movie released in 2003 to do so. It was also the second of the year's Steve Martin movies to top $100 million, and the first in the careers of Hilary Duff, Piper Perabo, Tom Welling and the rest of the Baker kids (except for Liliana Mumy.)

In the latest chapter of the Something's Gotta Give and Cold Mountain box office battle it was Cold Mountain that came out on top. This time the victory margin was less than $200,000, $7.9 million to $7.7 million. Something's Gotta Give will have to wait a full week, maybe more, to cross $100 million. While Cold Mountain will need to clean up at the early award shows to do so.

While My Baby's Daddy did earn more than predicted, $7.5 million and a sixth place finish isn't good by any definition. Its per theatre average was o.k., but its embarrassing reviews will still mean a quick exit from theatres.

Perhaps Mandy Moore should stick to singing, or at least look for higher quality projects. Chasing Liberty missed it mark both at that box office with only $6.1 million and critically with only 21% positive .

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Filed under: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Cheaper by the Dozen, Something's Gotta Give, Cold Mountain, Big Fish, My Baby's Daddy, Chasing Liberty