It was the weekend to ''Ring'' in the new year -- in more ways than one. For the third week in a row, ''The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers'' emerged the top film at the box office, grossing another $25.7 million, according to studio estimates.
"Two Towers" slipped 48 percent from last week's tally, compared to the 40 percent drop of "The Fellowship of the Ring" in its third weekend last year. But "Towers''' total take so far is an incredible $261.7 million, whereas "Fellowship" had only amassed $205.5 million at this point. Unlike "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," which is lagging behind "Harry Potter and Sorcerer's Stone," "Two Towers" looks like it'll have no problem matching the $313 million gross of the first "LOTR" film. And its fantastic performance also strengthens its Oscar chances: The first "LOTR" received 13 nominations.
Holding steady at No. 2 was the Leonardo DiCaprio/Tom Hanks caper "Catch Me If You Can," which slipped only 29 percent to $21.3 million. Steven Spielberg's film now stands at $97.6 million after only 12 days in theaters. And Sandra Bullock's romantic comedy "Two Weeks Notice," costarring Hugh Grant, dropped an impressive 25 percent in its third week to $11.6 million, bringing its total to $69.3 million. In comparison, Bullock's last big comedy, 2000's "Miss Congeniality," which ended up crossing the $100 million mark, had only reached $65.4 million at this point in its release. Bullock may not generate the biggest openings in Hollywood, but her films, even those that receive mixed reviews, often exhibit nice legs.
Another romance, Jennifer Lopez's "Maid in Manhattan," took fourth place with $9 million, bringing its total to $76.7 million. And Jack Nicholson managed to swipe No. 5 away from "Gangs of New York" with his critically acclaimed comedy "About Schmidt," which grossed $8.8 million despite playing in only about 800 theaters. "Gangs," in almost four times as many theaters, was close behind with $7.4 million, good enough for sixth place. Looks like fans prefer Leo as a lovable bad guy.