Columbia's romantic comedy Fifty First Dates was the emphatic box office winner atthe weekend as it opened top on a superb estimated $41m - another smash hitopening for its star Adam Sandler.
Estimatesput it at the second biggest February bow ever behind Hannibal in 2001 ($58m) and a pinch above Daredevil, which opened last year on $40.2m.
Drew Barrymore and Sandler reunite after The WeddingSinger in 1998 as a pairwho must wage a war on short-term memory loss to keep their love alive. PeterSegal directed the picture, which averaged $11,417 from 3,591 sites despite drawingmixed reviews.
Last week's champion, MGM's Barbershop 2, slipped into second place on $15.6m for$44.1m in its second week, while Buena Vista's Miracle slipped one to third on $14m for $37.1m,also in its second week.
There were no other new openers in the top 10, which saw NewLine's thriller The Butterfly Effect climb one place to fourth on $5.7m for $50m in its fourthweek and Universal's comedy Along Came Polly climb two to fourth on $5.1m for $81.6min its fifth week.
New Line's The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, which picked up five BAFTAs today (15)including best film, adapted screenplay and best film voted by the public,added $4.2m for $357.2m in its ninth week and fell one place to eighth.
Overall the top 12 pictures combined for $107.8m, down 13% againstthe same period last year.
Next weekend's wide releases include Paramount's boxing dramaAgainst The Ropes,starring Meg Ryan and Omar Epps; Buena Vista's teen comedy ConfessionsOf A Teenage Drama Queen,starring Lindsay Lohan and Adam Garcia; DreamWorks' comedy Eurotrip, starring Travis Wester and MichelleTrachtenberg; and 20th Century Fox's comedy Welcome To Mooseport, which stars Gene Hackman and RayRomano.
Estimated Top Ten US Feb 13-15 2004
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date
1 (-) Fifty First Dates (Columbia) CTFDI $41m -
2 (1) Barbershop 2: Back In Business (MGM) Fox Int'l $15.6m $44.1m
3 (2) Miracle (Buena Vista) BVI $14m $37.1m
4 (5) The Butterfly Effect (New Line) Kathy Morgan International $5.7m $50m
5 (3) You Got Served (Screen Gems) CTFDI $5.1m $32.1m
6 (4) Along Came Polly (Universal) UIP $5.1m $81.6m
7 (6) Catch That Kid (Fox) Fox Int'l $4.4m $10.9m
8 (7) The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (New Line) NLI $4.2m $357.2m
9 (10) Cold Mountain (Miramax) Miramax Int'l $3.7m $87.5m
10 (8) MysticRiver (Warner Bros)Warner Bros Intl $3.5m $74.5m