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King of the Box Office World: $245M in 5 Days

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING continued to rule the box office, grabbing $50.6M domestically over the weekend ended Dec. 28, 2003, and $222.2M for its first dozen days. Overseas brings the total RINGS take to $492M so far. KING also saw the biggest Christmas-day haul ever of $14.6M, a nice 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 opening weekend with $27.6M plus $7.8M on Dec. 25, for a total of $36.4M for the Steve Martin starrer, with effects by 11:11 Mediaworks and Digital Filmworks. Miramaxs COLD MOUNTAIN heated up the box office for $14.8M, plus $4.5M on its opening day, to come in third place with a four-day total of $19.1M. Double Negative and Framestore in the U.K. contributed effects. SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE barely held in at third for Sony with $13.8M in its third outing, totaling $55.9M, with Scott Rader as vfx supervisor. Audiences paid $13.5M to see Paramounts PAYCHECK plus $5.1M on its opening day adding up to a cume of $18.6M for the Ben Affleck vehicle featuring visual effects from Rising Sun Pictures, Creo Collective and CIS Hollywood.

Sony's MONA LISA SMILE period drama starring Julia Roberts dropped to sixth place taking in $11.1M and $31.2M in its second week, with Framestore contributing effects. PETER PAN did not pan out as a Christmas opener for Universal, coming in seventh with $11.1M for the weekend with $3.5M on its Christmas Day open, for a total cume of $14.6M. As for the rest of the box office, Warner Bros.' THE LAST SAMURAI (with vfx from Flash Film Works, Rising Sun and Matte World) slipped to eighth with $8.3M, giving the Tom Cruise actioner $74.3M. Dimension's BAD SANTA held came in ninth place with $4.5M, good enough for $50.9M, with visual effects contributed by Luma Pictures. New Line's ELF (with vfx by Rhythm & Hues, Chiodo Bros. Prods. and Amalgamated Pixels) held in the holiday pack in the 10th spot with $3.9M and a cume of $164.6M.

Sony Pictures Classics' critically acclaimed THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVEVILLE took in $195,707 increasing its theaters to 46, for a total of $636,383 to date. Box office information obtained from