After four weeks of ''Lord of the Rings'' domination, ''Along'' comes a new No. 1 movie.
''Along Came Polly,'' the new comedy starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston, easily topped the box office this weekend with a fantastic $27.6 million debut, according to studio estimates. ''Polly'''s very ''Something About Mary'' ad campaign attracted enough fans to make the film the third-best January opening ever, behind ''Star Wars Special Edition'''s $35.9 million in 1997 and ''Black Hawk Down'''s $28.6 million two years ago.
Three films were in a virtual dead heat for second place, and as we saw last week with the ''Lord of the Rings''/''Big Fish'' swap, the final numbers may be a bit different from the estimates. For now, ''Big Fish'' looks like it might hold onto its second-place position thanks to a small 25 percent drop to $10.4 million. The new action film ''Torque'' is close behind with a $10.3 million opening, while ''The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King'' slipped 28 percent to $10.2 million, bringing its total to $326.8 million, which makes it the No. 11 top domestic grosser of all time. Within days it will overtake No. 10, ''The Lion King,'' which stands at $328.5 million.
One sure bet: Steve Martin's ''Cheaper by the Dozen'' is definitely in fifth place, sliding 26 percent to $8.8 million. With a total of $112 million, it's now within $20 million of Martin's other 2003 smash, ''Bringing Down the House.'' Hey, this Martin guy could have a future.