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King Still Tops at Close of 2003

While 2003 produced a five percent overall drop in theater admissions, the holiday box office was helped enormously by THE LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING, which grabbed $28.1M over the four-day New Year's weekend ended Jan. 4, 2003, and $290.4M for its first 19 days. Overseas brings the RINGS take to $675M so far. The latest record broken was $12M for New Year's Day, besting last year's $11M from THE TWO TOWERS. Another holiday present for New Line, director Peter Jackson and his crew and Weta Digital, which did most of the VFX.

CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN from Fox was rich with family viewers, placing second in its second weekend with $21.6M for a total of $85.6M for the Steve Martin starrer, with VFX by 11:11 Mediaworks and Digital Filmworks. SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE moved up to third for Sony with $11.7M in its fourth outing, totaling $81.2M, with Scott Rader as vfx supervisor. Miramax's COLD MOUNTAIN heated up the box office for $11.5M to come in third place, producing $43.7M in its second outing. Double Negative and Framestore in the U.K. contributed effects. Audiences paid $9.8M to see Paramount's PAYCHECK in fifth place, adding up to a cume of $38.6M for the Ben Affleck vehicle featuring VFX from Rising Sun Pictures, Creo Collective and CIS Hollywood.

Universal's PETER PAN (with VFX from ILM, Digital Domain and Sony Pictures Imageworks) came in sixth with $8.8M over New Year's, bringing its total to $34.1M. Sony's MONA LISA SMILE period drama starring Julia Roberts dropped to seventh place taking in $8.3M and $50M in its third week, with Framestore contributing vfx. As for the rest of the box office, Warner Bros. THE LAST SAMURAI (with vfx from Flash Film Works, Rising Sun and Matte World) held the eighth spot with $7.3M, giving the Tom Cruise actioner $90M. Disney's CALENDAR GIRLS shot up to ninth with $4.4M and $6.9M in its first wide outing. Dimension's BAD SANTA held came in 10th place with $2.9M, good enough for $56.9M, with VFX contributed by Luma Pictures.

Sony's BIG FISH (with VFX from Sony Pictures Imageworks) earned $2.5M in limited release for a whopping per screen average of $20,335 and a cume of $8.4M. The Tim Burton fantasy/drama goes wide next weekend.

Sony Pictures Classics' critically acclaimed THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVEVILLE took in $282,236 decreasing its theaters to 43, for a total of $1,097,053 to date. Box office information obtained from