Universal's Meet TheFockers trounced the competition at the weekend, opening top on a three-dayestimated $44.7m gross that included the biggest Christmas Day take of alltime.
The comedy sequel took $68.5m since it opened last Wednesday, while the $19.1mChristmas Day haul overtook last year's $14m record set by The Lord Of TheRings: The Return Of The King.
Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Blythe Danner and Teri Polo from the cast of2000's Meet The Parents reunite with director Jay Roach and two key newcast members as Stiller's liberal parents - Barbra Streisand and DustinHoffman.
Studio chiefs expect the picture to reach $150m by New Year's Day and it drew mediocre reviews for a $12,700 average on 3,518 screens.
Fox International's comedy Fat Albert opened to fairly poor reviews insecond place on $12.7m. The live action version of the popular cartoon starsKenan Thompson and Omari Grandberry and averaged $4,749 on 2,674 screens.
The two other top 10 openers were Dimension's horror tale Darkness insixth place on $6.4m and Warner Bros' Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom OfThe Opera in 10th place on $4.2m from a barely wide initialrelease.
Darkness stars Anna Paquin and Lena Olin as family members who move intoa house with a horrific past. The critics gave it a bad reception and thepicture averaged $3,783 on 1,700 screens.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom Of The Opera is based on the stagemusical about a mysterious masked man who inhabits the catacombs beneath Parisand tutors a young soprano. Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum star in the picture,which drew mixed reviews and averaged $6,752 on 622 screens.
Elsewhere, Paramount's Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events slippedtwo to third place for a $59.3m running total after its second weekend,Miramax's The Aviator climbed 10 places to fourth for a $10.8mcumulative score, and Buena Vista's The Life Aquatic climbed 22 to ninthfor $5.3m.
Spanglish fell five to eighth in its second weekend on $5m for $18.5m.Business always dips when Christmas falls on a weekend and the top 12 titlesamassed $121.9m compared to $165.8m last year, when Return Of The Kingreigned supreme.
Estimated Top Ten US Nov 24-26 2004
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date
1 (-) Meet The Fockers (Universal) DreamWorks Int'l $44.7m $68.5m
2 (-) Fat Albert (Fox) Fox Int'l $12.7m -
3 (1) Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events (Paramount)DreamWorks Int'l $12.5m $59.3m
4 (14) The Aviator (Miramax) Miramax Int'l $9.4m $10.8m
5 (2) Ocean's Twelve (Warner Bros) Warner Bros Int'l $8.6m $86.9m
6 (-) Darkness (Dimension) Filmax Int'l $6.4m -
7 (4) The Polar Express (Warner Bros) Warner Bros Int'l $6.3m $140m
8 (3) Spanglish (Sony) SPRI $5m $18.5m
9 (31) The Life Aquatic (Buena Vista) BVI $4.9m $5.3m
10 (-) Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom Of The Opera (Warner Bros)Odyssey Entertainment $4.2m $6.5m