It was a tough sell, but New Line Cinema's supernatural drama The Butterfly Effect, starring Ashton Kutcher in his first non-comedic role, soared to the top of the box office this weekend with a colorful $17.1 million*.
The Butterfly Effect's ripples were enough to send last week's box office topper, Along Came Polly, to second place with $16.6 million, followed by this week's only other new wide release, Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!, which won the No. 3 position with a rather trivial $7.5 million.
After weeks of close calls, Tim Burton's Big Fish finally overcame The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, defeating Peter Jackson's fantasy epic with a lofty $7.3 million. Return of the King, meanwhile, rounded out the Top Five with a still noble $6.8 million.
This week's box office also saw the reemergence of Mystic River. Warner Bros. decided to expand the film's release to approximately 1,194 sites Friday because of the critical praise it's received during the awards season. Since its release Oct. 10, Mystic has collected numerous nominations and awards for its director Clint Eastwood and the ensemble cast. This weekend, the film came in at No. 10 with $3.1 million, bringing its cumulative total to $58.5 million.
THE TOP TEN
New Line Cinema's R rated supernatural drama The Butterfly Effect kicked off in the No. 1 position with an ESTIMATED $17.1 million in 2,605 theaters, with a $6,564 per theater average.
In The Butterfly Effect, a college student discovers a way to travel into the past to access sublimated childhood memories. He soon realizes that in occupying his childhood body, he can stop the unsettling events before they occur.
Directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, it stars Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Elden Henson and Ethan Suplee.
Universal Pictures' PG-13 rated romantic comedy Along Came Polly, last week's box office champ, dropped to second place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $16.6 million (-40%) in 2,995 theaters (+11 theaters; $5,543 per theater). Its cume is approximately $53.5 million.
Directed by John Hamburg, it stars Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Debra Messing.
DreamWorks' PG-13 rated romantic comedy Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! debuted in the No. 3 spot with an ESTIMATED $7.5 million in 2,711 theaters with a $2,767 per theater average.
In the film, a grocery clerk in rural West Virginia wins a date with big-screen idol Tad Hamilton, much to the chagrin of her best friend and co-worker Pete, who is secretly in love with her.
Directed by Robert Luketic, it stars Kate Bosworth, Josh Duhamel and Topher Grace.
Sony's PG-13 rated drama Big Fish dropped a notch to third place in its seventh week with an ESTIMATED $7.3 million (-29%) in 2,438 theaters (-76 theaters; $2,994 per theater). Its cume is approximately $49.1 million.
Directed by Tim Burton, it stars Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Helena Bonham Carter and Alison Lohman.
New Line Cinema's PG-13 rated fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King fell three rungs to fifth place in its sixth week with an ESTIMATED $6.8 million (-33%) at 2,558 theaters (-445 theaters; $2,678 per theater). Its cume is approximately $337.8 million.
Directed by Peter Jackson, it stars Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin, Liv Tyler, Miranda Otto, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
Twentieth Century Fox's PG rated family comedy Cheaper by the Dozen dropped two notches to sixth place in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $6.6 million (-27%) in 2,810 theaters (-215 theaters; $2,349 per theater). Its cume is approximately $122.7 million.
Directed by Shawn Levy, it stars Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff and Tom Welling.
Miramax Films' R rated Civil War drama Cold Mountain fell one place to seventh place in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $5.3 million (-22%) at 2,802 theaters (unchanged; $1,892 per theater average). Its cume is approximately $72.9 million.
Directed by Anthony Minghella, it stars Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger.
Warner Bros. PG-13 rated actioner Torque dropped three pegs to eighth place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $4.4 million in 2,463 theaters (unchanged; $1,797 per theater). Its cume is approximately $17.2 million.
Directed by Joseph Kahn, it stars Ice Cube, Martin Henderson, Monet Mazur, Matt Schulze and Jaime Pressly.
Sony Pictures' PG-13 rated romantic comedy Something's Gotta Give dropped two spots to ninth in its seventh week with an ESTIMATED $4.1 million (-29%) at 2,143 theaters (-359 theaters; $1,913 per theater). Its cume is approximately $107.1 million.
Directed by Nancy Meyers, it stars Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet and Frances McDormand.
Warner Bros.' dramatic R rated Mystic River expanded again after 16 weeks of release to round out the Top Ten with $3.1 million (+851%) at 1,327 theaters (+1,194 theaters; $2,355 per theater). Its cume is approximately $58.5 million.
Directed by Clint Eastwood, it stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Laura Linney and Marcia Gay Harden.
This week, the Top 12 films grossed an estimated $83.4 million, down 12.21 percent from last week's $95.05 million, but up 4.39 percent from last year's $79.9 million.
Last year, Sony Pictures' PG-13 rated horror pic Darkness Falls debuted at the No. 1 spot with $12 million at 2,837 theaters with a $4,239 per theater average; Warner Bros. PG rated comedy Kangaroo Jack came in second in its second week with $11.5 million in 2,848 theaters (+30 theaters; $4,055 per theater average); and Miramax's PG-13 rated Chicago came in at No. 3 with $8.2 million in 2,848 theaters+59 theaters; $13,375 per theater).
Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees teamed up this weekend to defend their No. 1 title at the box office--and it worked: Freddy vs. Jason managed to murder the competition for the second week in a row with $13.4 million*.
Freddy vs. Jason was followed by the '70s inspired police pic S.W.A.T., which claimed the No. 2 spot with $10.8 million, while the Western Open Range and the family remake Freaky Friday tied for third place with $9.4 million apiece. The Jackie Chan martial arts actioner The Medallion, the only one of this week's new wide releases to crack the Top Five, followed with $8.2 million.
The two new comedies, however, failed to tickle the fancy of moviegoers. The finally released, two-year-old Ashton Kutcher laffer My Boss's Daughter premiered in tenth place with $5 million while the hip-hop comedy Marci X disappeared off the charts with a paltry $865,000.
Although Freddy vs. Jason dropped off significantly from its $36.4 million high last week, it is the first summer film since X2: X-Men United to spend two weekends in a row at the top of the box office. But after a full month of $30 million plus openers, the box office lost its typical end of summer steam.
This week's Top 12 films grossed a total of $86.1 million, down a little more than 35 percent from last week, when they earned $132.6 million. The total, however, was up almost 33 percent form this time last year, when the Top 12 films grossed $64.8 million.
THE TOP TEN
New Line Cinema's R rated horror flick Freddy vs. Jason defended its No. 1 title for the second week in a row with an ESTIMATED $13.4 million (-63%) in 3,014 theaters (unchanged). Its $4,463 per theater average was the highest of any movie playing wide this week. Its cume is approximately $61.4 million.
Directed by Ronny Yu, it stars Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger.
Sony Pictures' PG-13 rated S.W.A.T. retained in its No. 2 spot in its third week with an ESTIMATED $10.8 million (-40%) in 3,204 theaters (-16 theaters; $3,371 per theater). Its cume is approximately $88 million.
Directed by Clark Johnson, it stars Colin Farrell, Samuel L. Jackson, LL Cool J and Michelle Rodriguez.
Buena Vista's R rated Western Open Range also held on to third place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $9.4 million (-33%) in 2,075 theaters (+88 theaters; $4,346 per theater). Its cume is approximately $29 2 million.
Directed by and starring Kevin Costner, it also stars Robert Duvall, Annette Bening, Diego Luna and Michael Gambon.
Buena Vista's PG rated family remake Freaky Friday tied for third place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $9.4 million (-30%) in 3,058 theaters (+79 theaters; $3,074 per theater). Its cume is $74.5 million.
Directed by Mark Waters, it stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Chad Michael Murray and Mark Harmon.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
Sony Pictures' PG-13 rated martial arts actioner The Medallion premiered in fifth place with an ESTIMATED $8.2 million at 2,648 theaters, with a $3,097 per theater average.
The film, Jackie Chan's first theatrical release in three years without a famous co-star, revolves around a Hong Kong detective who must protect a Buddhist monk child and a mysterious medallion from a ruthless crime lord.
Directed by Gordon Chan, it stars Jackie Chan, Lee Evans and Claire Forlani.
Buena Vista Pictures' PG-13 rated fantasy pic Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl remained strong in sixth place in its seventh week with an ESTIMATED $7.3 million (-20%) at 2,404 theaters (-306 theaters; $2,500 per theater). Its cume is approximately $261 million.
Directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, it stars Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.
Universal Pictures' PG-13 rated equestrian drama Seabiscuit gained a spot to finish in the No. 7 position in its fifth week with ESTIMATED $6.3 million (-22%) in 2,534 theaters (+72 theaters; $2,500 per theater). Its cume is approximately $93.1 million and headed for the $100 million mark.
Directed by Gary Ross, it stars Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges and Chris Cooper as three down-and-out men who find fame and fortune in an equally down-and-out racehorse.
MGM's PG-13 rated riches-to-rags tale Uptown Girls dropped three rungs to place eight in its second week with an ESTIMATED $5.6 million (-50%) in 2,495 theaters (unchanged; $2,244 per theater). Its cume is approximately $22.3 million.
Directed by Boaz Yakin, it stars Brittany Murphy, Dakota Fanning, Donald Faison, Marley Shelton and Heather Locklear.
Universal Picture's R rated teen comedy American Wedding fell two spots to finish ninth in fourth week with an ESTIMATED $5.7 million (-34%) at 2,467 theaters (-518 theaters; $2,260 per theater). Its cume is $90.6 million.
Directed by Jesse Dylan, it stars Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Alyson Hannigan, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Thomas Ian Nicholas.
Rounding out the Top Ten is Dimension Films' PG-13 rated fowl comedy My Boss's Daughter, which debuted in tenth place with an ESTIMATED $5 million in 2,201 theaters with a $2,272 per theater average.
In the film, a young executive housesits for his boss and tends to his prized pet owl in hopes of skipping a few rungs up the corporate ladder.
Directed by David Zucker, it stars Ashton Kutcher, Tara Reid, Molly Shannon and Andy Richter.
Paramount Pictures R rated hip-hop comedy Marci X opened to a disappointing $875,000 in 1,200 theaters with a $721 per theater average.
In the film, a New York Jewish socialite is forced to take over a hard-core hip-hop label and deal with a controversial rapper whose record is gaining some negative publicity.
Directed by Paul Rudnick, it stars Lisa Kudrow, Damon Wayans, Richard Benjamin, Christine Baranski and Jane Krakowski.
Fox Searchlight's R rated teen drama Thirteen, meanwhile, opened in five theaters to an impressive $112,213 with a $22,443 per theater average.
The movie focuses on an innocent, pigtailed 13-year-old who enters junior high with a promising future ahead of her, until she falls in with the ultra-popular, hottest girl in school and is introduced to a world of sex, drugs and misdemeanors.
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, it stars Holly Hunter, Evan Rachel Wood and Nikki Reed.
Miramax Film's PG-13 rated comedy The Battle of Shaker Heights, winner of the 2002 Project Greenlight competition developed by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, also opened in limited release this week. The film took in $52,000 in 5 theaters with a $10,400 per theater average.
Set in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, the film is about a teenage World War II buff and battle re-enactor, Kelly Enswiler, who is encouraged by a new friend to take on the school bully.
Directed by Kyle Rankin and Efram Potelle, it stars Shia LaBeouf, Kathleen Quinlan, Amy Smart and Shiri Appleby.
Last year's top three included: Buena Vista's PG-13 rated sci-fi thriller Signs, which reclaimed the No. 1 spot in its fourth week of release with $14.2 million at 3,453 theaters ($4,137 per theater average); Sony's PG-13 rated actioner xXx, which dropped to second place its third week with $13.2 million in 3,517 theaters ($3,770 per theater average); and Dimension's Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams, which came in third in its third week with $7.5 million at 3,307 theaters ($2,295 per theater).