New Line Cinema's epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring made a noble debut at the box office this weekend, taking in $45.2 million in its opening weekend, bringing its four day domestic theatrical release total to $73.1 million. Hitting 3,359 theaters, The Fellowship of the Ring averaged $13,471 per theater.
While the PG-13-rated The Fellowship of the Ring did not surpass last month's $90.3 million take for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, it did eclipse the $60 million mark predicted by the studio.
The Fellowship of the Ring pulled in $18.2 million at the domestic box office on its first day, the biggest take ever for a single day in December, and the third biggest Wednesday opening for any film in North America. It did not, however, surpass records set by Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, which grossed $28.5 million on May 19, 1999, and Jurassic Park III, which made $19 million on July 18, 2001.
Directed by Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring stars Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd and Liv Tyler.
Warner Bros.' PG-13 crime remake Ocean's Eleven kept its runner-up title for the second week in a row, earning $14.5 million in 3,075 theaters ($4,745 per theater). Its cume is approximately $95.2 million.
The film, directed by Steven Soderbergh, stars George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, and Don Cheadle.
Armed and ready, Paramount's G-rated animated feature Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius comfortably slid into third place with an estimated $14 million in 3,139 theaters ($4,460 per theater), easily beating out Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Last week's box office topper, Paramount's Vanilla Sky, dropped to fourth place this weekend. The romantic thriller earned $12.1 million, a 52 percent drop from last week, at 2,744 theaters ($4,410 per theater). Sky has a cume of approximately $45.1 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Cameron Crowe, Vanilla Sky star Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz.
Universal's R-rated pot comedy How High smoked its way to a fifth place with an estimated $7.6 million at 1,266 theaters (an impressive $6,003 per theater).
It's directed by Jesse Dylan and stars rappers Method Man and Redman.
Slowly losing steam, Warner Bros.' Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone dropped two spots to finish sixth, making $6.7 million-a 38 percent drop from last week, at 3,311 theaters (-111 theaters; $1,863 per theater). Its cume is approximately $236.1 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Chris Columbus, it stars Daniel Radcliffe in its title role.
Sony's R-rated youth flick Not Another Teen Movie fell four notches to place seventh with an estimated $5.5 million (-56%) at 2,365 theaters ($2,326 per theater). Its cume is approximately $21.6 million.
Directed by Joel Gallen, the film stars Jaime Pressly, Mia Kirshner, Chyler Leigh, Chris Evans and Cody McMains.
Warner Bros.' The Majestic made a weak debut in eighth place with a dull estimated $5 million at 2,361 theaters, with an average of $2,128 per theater.
The PG-rated drama directed by Frank Darabont stars a subdued Jim Carrey.
Fox's Joe Somebody eked by in ninth spot. The PG-rated comedy opened with an estimated $3.6 million at 2,503 theaters ($1,458per theater).
Directed by John Pasquin, the film stars Tim Allen, Julie Brown, Hayden Panettiere and Greg Germann.
Rounding out the top ten was Buena Vista's Monsters, Inc., down four rungs in its eighth week with an estimated $3.5 million at 2,097 theaters (-585 with an average of $2,530 per theater). Its cume is approximately $224.1 million.
Jamal (Redman) and Silas (Method Man) have spent the last six years attending a two-year community college and smoking way too much marijuana. When their friend Ivory (Chuck Davis) dies after falling asleep with a lit joint loosely dangling from his lip and catching on fire Silas uses his ashes to fertilize one of his plants. Now it seems that whenever the two smoke weed from the special plant they get a visit from the ghost of their dead friend. When the time comes to take their THCs (that's Testing for Higher Credentials) Jamal and Silas light up and enlist Ivory's help to pass the tests. The plan works and the twosome's perfect test scores get them admitted into Harvard University. But the high times quickly take a nosedive when an on-campus security guard steals the spiritual plant. The two must now figure out how to stay at the highbrow institution and fulfill their dreams of developing pot in a real lab.
Method Man plays Silas a pot dealer with big dreams with Redman as his best friend Jamal. Because the roles are practically tailor-made with them in mind they are able to play their characters as written and bring much of their public persona to the screen. They also have great chemistry and literally light up any scene they are in together. With a shaky script to stand on these two easily carry the film. Lark Voorhies (Saved by the Bell) is convincingly sweet and natural as the poor but really smart girl and Silas' object of affection but Essence Atkins is too over-the-top and contrived as the U.S. vice president's daughter with eyes on Jamal. Obba Babatunde had some good scenes as the uptight but underdeveloped character of Dean Cain and there are some great notable cameo appearances by Spalding Gray as a professor of African-American history and rappers Cypress Hill as party deejays.
How High was produced by Danny DeVito's Jersey Films and marks Jesse Dylan's feature directorial debut. The movie has some extremely funny moments like the overly dramatic slow motion shot of Jamal's cheese doodle dropping onto Dean Cain's imported handmade rug and some great references that aren't too obscure to catch (does "Pass the dutchy from the left hand side" sound familiar?) But while the film has its creative moments it is marred by a superficial script complete with a not-so-funny pimp his sidekick and some stereotypical "hos." The story becomes a little too formulaic and lacks the sophistication of Ice Cube's Friday and the intricacies of Tamra Davis' Half-Baked. But as far as this comedies go How High--thanks mostly in part to Redman and Method Man--is entertaining enough to join the ranks of classic pot comedies like Cheech & Chong's Up in Smoke.