'Rings' finale outpaces predecessors

Monday, December 22, 2003

— "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" raked in $73.6 million in its first weekend and put up a five-day haul of $125.1 million since its Wednesday debut, according to estimates Sunday.

That put it well ahead of the fantasy trilogy's first two chapters. Part one, "The Fellowship of the Ring," grossed $47.2 million over opening weekend and $75 million in its first five days, while the middle chapter, "The Two Towers," had a $62 million opening weekend and took in $102 million over its first five days.

"Return of the King" did not set records for best domestic opening weekend, but it put up the highest numbers ever for a worldwide debut. It added $121 million in 28 other countries since Wednesday for a global total of $246.1 million, surpassing the $202.8 million five-day opening for "The Matrix Revolutions" last month.

Estimated weekend grosses at North American theaters:

1. "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," $73.6 million.

2. "Mona Lisa Smile," $12 million.

3. "Something's Gotta Give," $11.5 million.

4. "The Last Samurai," $7.3 million.

5. "Stuck on You," $5.4 million.

6. "Elf," $5 million.

7. "Bad Santa," $4.3 million.

8. "The Haunted Mansion," $4.2 million.

9. "Love Don't Cost a Thing," $4 million.

10. "Honey," $2.6 million.