Anger Management: Sidney Baldwin
Dave Karger
April 11, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Not so long ago, Adam Sandler was blamed for a horrible AOL Time Warner financial quarter, thanks to ”Little Nicky.” Now, with ”Anger Management,” he’s being credited with revitalizing the box office.

”Anger Management,” Sandler’s new comedy with Jack Nicholson, debuted in theaters this weekend with a fantastic $44.5 million, according to studio estimates. (Allow us to pat ourselves on the back —’s prediction was $45 million.) That figure means that the film not only breaks the April box office record held by last year’s ”The Scorpion King,” which grossed $36.1 million in its opening weekend, but also tops Sandler’s own personal best, ”Big Daddy,” which premiered with $41.5 million in 1999. The PG-13 comedy appealed to both men and women of all ages, thanks to Sandler and Nicholson’s odd-couple pairing.

Unfortunately, the news wasn’t so good for the rest of the top-five films, all of which took large drops this week. Last week’s No. 1, the Colin Farrell thriller ”Phone Booth,” fell 50 percent to $7.5 million, bringing its 10-day total to $26.6 million, while Amanda Bynes’ teen flick ”What a Girl Wants” slipped 41 percent to $6.7 million (its total stands at $20.4 million.

Even Steve Martin and Queen Latifah’s smash ”Bringing Down the House,” which actually went up a notch to fourth place, took a 45 percent hit, the biggest of its run so far. Still, it’s racked up $117.7 million in just over a month. But the worst plummet belonged to Vin Diesel’s drama ”A Man Apart,” which dropped a horrible 60 percent to $4.5 million. After 10 days, it’s only earned $18.3 million. Where’s that ”XXX” sequel when you need it?

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