New Line Cinema championed the box office for the second weekend in a row as The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring brought in an estimated $37.4m in the Friday to Sunday period Dec 28 to 30.

The 178 minute epic played at 3,359 theatres for a strong $11,119 site average. Its domestic total to date is a staggering $154.5m - grossed in just 12 days.

Box office was up a massive 21% from the same weekend last year led by Fellowship but with ongoing success, notably from Warner Bros whose Ocean's Eleven took $17.4m to bring it past the $100m barrier ($128.2m total) and Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone leapt up 62% to take $11.46m ($286.1m total).

Also performing with gusto for Paramount Pictures was family animated picture Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius which took $15m to bring its ten day total to $42.2m and Vanilla Sky, which dropped just 5% to take $11.5m to bring its three weekend total to $66.5m.

Meanwhile Columbia Pictures' Ali, which is handled internationally by Initial Entertainment Group (IEG), opened powerfully on Christmas Day with an all-time Dec 25 record of $10.2m, although it didn't perform so well subsequently. Its six day total was $35.3m, its three day weekend total $15.3m.

The only other wide opener was Miramax Films' Kate & Leopold starring Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman which took $17.1m in six days and $9.5m from Fri to Sun. The film was moved back to Dec 25 just days before its scheduled Dec 19 opening to avoid the Lord Of The Rings behemoth.

Meanwhile Oscar hopefuls were also out of the gate. A Beautiful Mind, which is a Universal domestic release and a DreamWorks international release, expanded to 525 theatres and took a mighty $7.24m for an average of $13,785 per site. The movie, directed by Ron Howard and starring Russell Crowe, is one of the frontrunners for Oscar consideration and has received six Golden Globe nominations. It will expand this weekend to about 1,600 theatres.

Less impressive on limited release was Miramax Films' The Shipping News starring Kevin Spacey and Julianne Moore, which took $1.2m at 186 sites for an average of $6,450. Its six day total (it also opened on Christmas Day) was $2.1m.

In addition to excellent expansions for The Royal Tenenbaums and In The Bedroom, prestige pictures opening on platform release in time for Oscar consideration were numerous.
- USA Films' Gosford Park got off to a flying start with $0.24m at nine sites for an average per site of $26,869. It opened on Dec 26 and its five day total is $0.37m.
- Columbia Pictures' Black Hawk Down took $0.18m at four theatres for a huge site average of $45,500. The film will go onto about 3,000 screens on Jan 18.
- Lions Gate Films' Monster's Ball, which also opened on Dec 26, took a strong $0.11m at seven theatres for an average of $15,285 per site.
- New Line Cinema's I Am Sam opened on just two prints for an estimated $38,000 take, an impressive $19,000 per print.
- Warner Bros' Charlotte Gray opened at five theatres for an okay $35,000 translating to $7,000 per theatre.

Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (1) The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (New Line) New Line International $37.4m $154.5m
2 (2) Ocean's Eleven (Warner Bros) Warner Bros $17.4m $128.2m
3 (-) Ali (Columbia) Initial Entertainment Group $15.3m $35.3m
4 (3) Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (Paramount) UIP $15m $42.2m
5 (4) Vanilla Sky (Paramount) UIP $11.5m $66.5m
6 (6) Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone (Warner Bros) Warner Bros $11.4m $286.1m
7 (-) Kate & Leopold (Miramax) Miramax International $9.5m $17.1m
8 (-) A Beautiful Mind (Universal) DreamWorks/UIP $7.2m $13.2m
9 (9) Monsters Inc (Buena Vista) $6.5m $236.3m
10 (8) The Majestic (Warner Bros) Warner Bros $5.7m $15.8m