New Line's thriller TheButterfly Effect opened top at the weekend on an estimated $17.1m, provingstar Ashton Kutcher has the chops for more serious acting away from the comedyroles and his former incarnation as a professional prankster.

Kutcher plays a man with theability to travel through time who uses his power to undo terrible events inhis life. Eric Bress and J Mackye Gruber's thriller also stars Amy Smart andMelora Walters. It drew poor reviews and averaged $6,564 from 2,605 sites.

Last week's number one film AlongCame Polly slipped to second place, adding $16.6m for a $53.5m runningtotal in its second week for Universal.

The only other opener of thetop 10 was Dreamworks' romantic comedy Win A Date With Ted Hamilton!,which shrugged off so-so reviews to earn $7.5m.

Kate Bosworth and TopherGrace star in the tale of a celebrity date that spawns a love triangle. RobertLuketic directed the film, which averaged $2,766 from 2,711 sites.

Elsewhere New Line's TheLord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King slipped three to fifth in itssixth week, adding $6.9m for $337.9m.

Miramax's Cold Mountaincontinued its trek into profitability, dropping one to seventh on $5.3m for$72.9m in its fifth week on release.

Warner Bros' murder drama MysticRiver climbed 16 places to 10th on $3.1m for $58.5m in its 16thweek following a wide expansion into 1,327 sites.

The studio increased thefilm's presence ahead of Sunday night's Golden Globes and the Academy Awardnominations on Tuesday (27).

Overall the top 12 titles grossed$83.5m, down 12% against the same time last year. Next weekend is SuperbowlWeekend and the wide releases include Warner Bros' crime-thriller The BigBounce, starring Owen Wilson and Moran Freeman; and Columbia's hip-hopcomedy You Got Served, which stars Omarion and Marques Houston.

Estimated Top Ten US Jan23-25 2004
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date
1 (-) The Butterfly Effect(New Line) NLI $17.1m --
2 (1) Along Came Polly (Universal) UIP $16.6m $53.5m
3 (-) Win A Date With Ted Hamilton! (Dreamworks) UIP $7.5m -
4 (3) Big Fish (Columbia) CTFDI $7.3m $49.1m
5 (2) The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (New Line) NLI $6.9m$337.9m
6 (4) Cheaper By The Dozen (Fox) Fox Int'l $6.6m $122.8m
7 (6) Cold Mountain (Miramax) Miramax Int'l $5.3m $72.9m
8 (5) Torque (Warner Bros) Warner Bros Intl $4.4m $17.2m
9 (7) Something's Gotta Give (Columbia) CTFDI/Warner Bros Int'l $4.1m$107.1m
10 (26) Mystic River (Warner Bros) Warner Bros Intl $3.1m $58.5m