After four weeks in the top position, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the third installment in Peter Jackson's epic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, slipped to the number four spot as the 'Ben & Jen' vehicle, Along Came Polly starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston, debuted with an estimated $27.6 million, the third highest January opening ever.
Although dethroned, The Return of the King brought in another $10.2 million, a drop of only 28%, running its domestic cumulative to $326.8. ROTK is now #11 on the all-time list of top-grossing movies and is a cinch to move into the top ten next week.
The Return of the King continues to run 10% ahead of the total amassed by The Two Towers, and ROTK's worldwide box office total is an eye-popping $771.5 million. The last chapter in Peter Jackson's LOTR saga has definitely demonstrated 'legs' equal to the first two installments in the trilogy, and any major Oscar victories could stimulate an even longer run.
Meanwhile Tim Burton's Big Fish, which was prematurely crowned box office king last week only to lose out when the official totals were released on Monday, is suspiciously close to ROTK again with an estimated take of $10.4 million, a drop of just 25%. Burton's film has grossed $38 million in two weeks.