19 January 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Universal's Along Came Polly was securely perched atop the charts at the boxoffice over the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend as the Ben Stiller-Jennifer Aniston starrer cracked an estimated $32.8 million during the four-day session. The opening for the Jersey Films co-production, written and directed by John Hamburg, surpassed expectations by a wide margin and marked the biggest opening for a comedy in January. It also was the second biggest for the MLK frame, behind the first weekend of wide release for Sony's Black Hawk Down ($33.6 million). For January as a whole, Polly's debut was the third-biggest weekend, behind Black Hawk and 20th Century Fox's Star Wars reissue in 1997 ($35.9 million in three days). After four weekends in the top slot, New Line Cinema's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King finally abdicated that position as the third film in the epic trilogy moved into second place with an estimated $12.7 million for the four days. The first three days of the four-day holiday frame were off 28% from a week ago, and the cume to date has risen to a sensational $329.3 million, making King the 10th-highest-grossing film of all time in North America.

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