Universal's romantic comedy AlongCame Polly ended the four-week rule of The Return Of The King as itopened top on an estimated $27.6m - the highest opener over the Martin LutherKing Day holiday weekend since Save The Last Dance in 2001.
The poorly reviewed filmstars Jennifer Aniston as a woman who spices up the life of risk analyst BenStiller. John Hamburg directed the film, which averaged $9,249 from 2,984sites. Hank Azaria and Debra Messing also star.
Sony's Big Fishremained in second place on $10.4m for a $37.9m running total while New Line's ReturnOf The King fell three places to fourth on $10.2m for a magnificent $326.8mcumulative score.
Opening in third on $10.3mwas Warner Bros' motorcycle racing drama Torque. The film received verypoor write-ups and stars Jay Hernandez and Matt Schulze in a tale of murder andgang warfare. It was directed by Joseph Kahn and averaged $4,169 from 2,463sites.
There were no other newentries in the top 10, although Sony's Something's Gotta Give and WarnerBros' The Last Samurai both passed $100m.
Something's Gotta Give added $6m for $100.9m, falling two places toseventh, while The Last Samurai remained in ninth place and grossed$3.1m for $101.9m.
Overall the top 12 titlesgrossed $95.6m, down 4% on the same weekend last year.
Next weekend's releasesinclude Miramax's serial killer thriller Mindhunters, which stars LLCool J, Val Kilmer and Christian Slater.
Estimated Top Ten US Jan 9-11 2004
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date
1 (-) Along Came Polly (Universal) UIP $27.6m --
2 (2) Big Fish (Columbia) CTFDI $10.4m $37.9m
3 (-) Torque (Warner Bros) $10.3m -
4 (1) The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (New Line) NLI$10.2m $326.8m
5 (3) Cheaper By The Dozen (Fox) Fox Int'l $8.8m $111.9m
6 (4) Cold Mountain (Miramax) Miramax Int'l $7m $65m
7 (5) Something's Gotta Give (Columbia) CTFDI/Warner Bros Int'l $6m$100.9m
8 (6) My Baby's Daddy (Miramax) Miramax Int'l/BVI $3.7m $12.4m
9 (9) The Last Samurai (Warner Bros) Warner Bros Int'l $3.1m $101.9m
10 (12) Calendar Girls (Buena Vista) BVI $3.1m $17.2m