Box Office

Yule-Tidal Wave

'Twas the season of sugarplums and lumps of coal. The Return of the King's sprint past $200 million in just 11 days (it has earned nearly $500 million worldwide and will soon rank in the all-time top 5), along with a better-than-predicted opening for Cheaper by the Dozen and Something's Gotta Give's continued virile performance, boosted the Christmas haul. The expensive, star-heavy behemoths Paycheck and Cold Mountain will have to wait before opening their presents (as will the not-as-expensive, star-heavy Mona Lisa Smile). And while Charlize Theron's serial-killer drama Monster scared up a $21,708 average, the pricey flop Peter Pan was stuck in Neverland.

TOP 20 NUMBER WEEKEND WEEKS GROSS WEEKEND OF PER SITE IN TO GROSS* SITES+ AVERAGE RELEASE DATE

1 LOTR: THE RETURN OF THE KING $50.6 3,703 $13,664 2 $222.3 2 CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN $27.6 3,298 $8,356 1 $35.4 3 COLD MOUNTAIN $14.6 2,163 $6,738 1 $19.1 4 SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE $13.8 2,709 $5,100 3 $55.9 5 PAYCHECK $13.5 2,762 $4,874 1 $18.6 6 MONA LISA SMILE $11.4 2,677 $4,240 2 $31.2 7 PETER PAN $11.1 2,813 $3,960 1 $14.6 8 the LAST SAMURAI $8.3 2,557 $3,257 4 $74.3 9 BAD SANTA $4.5 1,710 $2,647 5 $51.0 10 ELF $3.9 2,015 $1,938 8 $164.6 11 STUCK ON YOU $3.6 2,400 $1,511 3 $24.4 12 LOVE DON'T COST A THING $3.0 1,133 $2,606 3 $16.4 13 THE HAUNTED MANSION $2.9 1,622 $1,763 5 $64.7 14 BIG FISH $2.1 124 $16,562 3 $3.5 15 HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG $1.7 438 $3,928 2 $1.8 16 HONEY $1.4 760 $1,865 4 $26.6 17 DR. SEUSS' THE CAT IN THE HAT $1.3 1,299 $970 6 $97.0 18 21 GRAMS $1.2 291 $4,206 6 $4.8 19 MASTER AND COMMANDER $1.2 751 $1,546 7 $80.7 20 IN AMERICA $1.1 325 $3,295 5 $3.0

SOURCE: NIELSEN EDI. WEEKEND OF DEC. 26 -- 28 *WEEKEND-GROSS AND GROSS-TO-DATE FIGURES IN MILLIONS +INCLUDES SOME MULTISCREEN THEATERS AND PRINTS SHIPPED AS WELL AS INDIVIDUAL SCREENS

JULIA ROBERTS Top Openers OPENING NUMBER DOMESTIC WEEKEND* OF SITES GROSS

12/7/01 OCEAN'S ELEVEN $38.1 3,075 $183.4 7/30/99 RUNAWAY BRIDE $35.1 3,158 $152.3 7/20/01 AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS $30.2 3,011 $93.6 3/17/00 ERIN BROCKOVICH $28.1 2,848 $125.5 5/28/99 NOTTING HILL $21.8 2,747 $116.1 6/20/97 MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING $21.7 2,134 $127.1 3/2/01 THE MEXICAN $20.1 2,951 $66.8 8/8/97 CONSPIRACY THEORY $19.3 2,806 $75.9 12/25/98 STEPMOM $19.1 2,358 $90.1 12/17/93 THE PELICAN BRIEF $16.9 1,993 $100.7

Originally posted Jan 09, 2004 Published in issue #745 Jan 09, 2004 Order article reprints