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Box Office Analysis, Feb. 15: Valentine's Day "50 First Dates" Rates No. 1

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Feb 15, 2004 | 4:02pm EST

50 First Dates was the heart and soul of this Valentine's/President's Day weekend at the box office.

As the only film opening wide this weekend, the romantic comedy, reuniting The Wedding Singer lovebirds Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, debuted at No. 1 with a whopping $41 million, knocking last week's champ Barbershop 2: Back in Business down to second place with $15.6 million.

"This release date for this movie, it was a sweetheart move, no pun intended," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations, told The Associated Press. "Talk about great timing. For a lot of couples, this was their Valentine entertainment."

50 First Dates hefty take-in ranks it as the best President's Day weekend opener ever, beating record-holder Daredevil, which opened this weekend last year with $40.3 million. Dates is also the second best February opening behind Hannibal, which opened in 2001 with $58 million.

This week, the Top 12 films grossed an estimated $107.8 million, up 18.44 percent from last week's $91 million, but down 12.91 percent from last year's $123.7 million.

Last year, 20th Century Fox's PG-13 rated comic book actioner Daredevil opened at No.1 with $40.3 million in 3,471 theaters with a $11,613 per theater average; Paramount Pictures' PG-13 rated comedy How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days slipped to the second spot in its second week with $20.7 million in 2,923 theaters with a $6,402 per theater average; and Miramax's PG-13 rated musical Chicago stayed at third in its eighth week of release with $14.5 million in 2,268 theaters (+427 theaters) with a $5,604 per theater average.

BOX OFFICE TOP 10, ESTIMATES (Source: Exhibitor Relations, Inc.)

No. 1: 50 First Dates (20th Century Fox, PG-13)

Gross: $41 million

Weeks opened: NEW!

Theaters: 3,591

Per-theater average: $11,417

No. 2: Barbershop 2: Back in Business (MGM, PG-13)

Gross: $15.6 million (-36%)

Weeks opened: 2

Theaters: 2,711 (unchanged)

Per-theater average: $5,754

Cume to date: $44 million

No. 3: Miracle (Buena Vista, PG)

Gross: $14 million (-28%)

Weeks opened: 2

Theaters: 2,755

(+150 theaters) Per-theater average: $5,089

Cume to date: $37 million

No. 4: The Butterfly Effect (New Line, R)

Gross: $5.7 million (-12%)

Weeks opened: 4

Theaters: 2,288 (-231 theaters)

Per-theater average: $2,491

Cume to date: $50 million

No. 5: You Got Served (Screen Gems, PG-13)

Gross: $5.1 million (-32%)

Weeks opened: 3

Theaters: 1,832 (-111 theaters)

Per-theater average: $2,784

Cume to date: $32 million

No. 6: Along Came Polly (Universal Pictures, PG-13)

Gross: $5 million (-26%)

Weeks opened: 5

Theaters: 2,545 (-413 theaters)

Per-theater average: $1,995

Cume to date: $81.6 million

No. 7: Catch That Kid (20th Century Fox, PG)

Gross: $4.3 million (-25%)

Weeks opened: 2

Theaters: 2,848 (+1 theater)

Per-theater average: $1,527

Cume to date: $10.8 million

No. 8: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (New Line, PG-13)

Gross: $4.1 million (-3%)

Weeks opened: 9

Theaters: 1,663 (-215 theaters)

Per-theater average: $2,495

Cume to date: $357.2 million

No. 9: Cold Mountain (Miramax, R)

Gross: $3.7 million (+15%)

Weeks opened: 8

Theaters: 1,740 (-177 theaters)

Per-theater average: $2,141

Cume to date: $87.5 million

No. 10: Mystic River (Warner Bros., R)

Gross: $3.5 million (-3%)

Weeks opened: 19

Theaters: 1,370 (unchanged)

Per-theater average: $2,588

Cume to date: $74.5 million

OTHER OPENINGS

Highwaymen (New Line, R)

Gross: $203,000 million

Weeks opened: NEW!

Theaters: 111

Per-theater average: $1,829

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