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Returning as King

December 29th, 2003

No one was surprised that Lord of the Ring: Return of the King remained on top for the second weekend in a row, but most of the new entries did surprise at the box office. It is also not surprising that the box office shot up from last week by over 30%, but the yearly increase was a much more modest 4%. That is less than the average increase in ticket prices.

A Christmas $14.0 million and $50.6 million for its second weekend is an excellent result, but it is a little lower than what was expected for Lord of the Ring: Return of the King. That's a 30% drop from it's debut weekend, more than 9 percentage points higher than The Two Towers. The domestic total now sits above $222 million, which is the 5th highest for the year and 39th highest all time.

The biggest surprise of the weekend was the remake Cheaper by the Dozen. It earned $8.2 million on Christmas alone and $35.4 million by the end of the weekend and should easily cross $100 million by the end of its run. It will also become the highest grossing film for each of Hilary Duff, Ashton Kutcher, Piper Perabo and Tom Welling. All this despite poor reviews, which proves quality isn't everything.

Next on the list is Cold Mountain, which has already earned plenty of nominations, came in a distant third. $4.5 million on Christmas and $19 million by the end of the weekend and $100 million is an outside shot. Its reviews will put it on the bubble and more nominations and awards should put it over the top.

Something's Gotta Give matched predictions almost perfectly. For Christmas is made just under $3.5 million and $13.8 million for the weekend. This raised its total past $55 million and could help push its total past $100 million.

Rounding out the top five was Paycheck, which pulled in an impressive $5 million on Christmas, but its daily total dropped every day from then and only managed $18.6 million in the four days since it opened. The worse reviews, including just 10% positive from the cream of the crop.

Having some of the best reviews for a wide release for weekend didn't help Peter Pan at the box office. It could only manage $3.6 million for Christmas day and $14.6 million in four days. That is simply not enough for a movie with a $100 million budget.

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Filed under: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Cheaper by the Dozen, Something's Gotta Give, Cold Mountain, Paycheck, Peter Pan