Something's Gotta Give also hacked last week's box office champ The Last Samurai, which dropped to second place with $14 million, and the new comedies Stuck on You, which debuted in third place with $10 million, and Love Don't Cost a Thing, which kicked off in fourth place with $6.5 million.
Although Something's Gotta Give didn't rake in as much as Nicholson's comedy Anger Management, which opened in April to the tune of $42.2 million, it debuted slightly stronger than the actor's 1997 romantic comedy As Good As It Gets, which took in $12.6 million in its first weekend.
Sony Pictures' head of distribution Jeff Blake told The Associated Press Sunday that although Something's Gotta Give is targeted at older adults, it scored well among younger crowds, with viewers under 30 accounting for a third of the audience.
"For the holidays, this is the perfect piece of entertainment, especially in a market that for the most part has had either children's films or darker-themed adult films out there," Blake said. "This is funny, well-written, and we think [it] works for all audiences."
THE TOP TEN
Sony Pictures' PG-13 rated romantic comedy Something's Gotta Give debuted at No. 1 with an ESTIMATED $17 million at 2,677 theaters. Its $6,350 per theater average was the highest of any film playing wide this week.
In the film, an older man dating a pretty twenty-something falls in love with her dynamic mother.
Warner Bros.' R rated period actioner The Last Samurai, last week's box office topper, dropped to second place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $14 million (-42%) in 2,908 theaters (unchanged; $4,831 per theater average). Its cume is approximately $46.8 million.
Twentieth Century Fox's PG-13 rated comedy Stuck on You opened in third place with an ESTIMATED $10 million at 3,003 theaters with a $3,330 per theater average.
In the film, conjoined twins discover how difficult it is when one wants to pursue his dream as an actor in Hollywood. But once they become celebrities, they realize it's time for an operation to separate them.
Warner Bros. PG-13 rated teen comedy Love Don't Cost a Thing kicked off in fourth place with $6.5 million at 1,844 with a $3,544 per theater average.
In the film, a remake of the 1987 comedy Can't Buy Me Love, a geek pays the most popular girl in school to be his girlfriend so people will think he's popular.
Buena Vista's PG rated horror comedy The Haunted Mansion dropped two notches to No. 5 in its third week with an ESTIMATED $6.3 million (-33%) at 3,001 theaters (-121 theaters; $2,099 per theater). Its cume is approximately $53.9 million.
Miramax Films' R rated dark comedy Bad Santa held steady in sixth place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $6.2 million (-12%) at 2,540 theaters (+449 theaters; $3,385 per theater). Its cume is approximately $35.9 million.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
New Line Cinema's PG rated holiday comedy Elf fell three spots to seventh in its sixth week with an ESTIMATED $6.2 million (-23%) at 2,876 theaters (-243 theaters; $2,156 per theater). Its cume is approximately $147.6 million.
Universal Pictures' PG-13 rated hip-hop drama Honey tumbled six rungs to eighth place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $5 million (-60%) in 1,972 theaters (+30 theaters; $2,585 per theater). Its cume is approximately $20 million.
Universal Pictures' PG rated live-action comedy Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat, fell from its fifth place perch to ninth position in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $4.1 million (-41%) at 2,955 theaters (-454 theaters, $1,420 per theater). Its cume is approximately $90.7 million.
Warner Bros.' R rated horror thriller Gothika fell three notches to round out the Top 10 in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $2.7 million (-48%) at 1,806 theaters (-399 theaters; $1,514 per theater). Its cume is approximately $53.9 million.
Sony's PG-13 rated drama Big Fish debuted in six theaters with an ESTIMATED $215,000 with a $35,833 per theater average.
In the film, a son comes to understand his father through the older man's fantastic stories.
The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $83 million, down 7.08 percent from last weekend's $89.3 million take and also down 8.1 percent from last year's $90.4 million.
Last year, Sony Pictures' PG-13 rated romantic comedy Maid in Manhattan debuted in first place with $18.7 million at 2,838 theaters ($6,593 per theater); Paramount's PG-13 rated sci-fi sequel Star Trek: Nemesis opened in second place with $18.5 million in 2,711 theaters ($6,829 per theater); and 20th Century Fox's PG-13 rated teen musical Drumline kicked off in third place with $12.6 million in 1,836 theaters ($6,865 per theater).