‘Anger’ Makes Sandler, Nicholson Happy With $44.5M Debut

'Phone Booth' drops to #2 at box office, while 'House of 1000 Corpses' debuts at #7.

How big was the pairing of Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson? “Anger Management” scored opening numbers greater than the receipts from the rest of the top 10 movies combined and bigger than either actor’s previous record. The film easily took the #1 spot with a $44.5 million haul, according to studio estimates. (Click for photos from “Anger Management.” )

Opening in 3,551 venues over the weekend — the second widest opening for a comedy, behind last year’s “Austin Powers in Goldmember” — “Anger Management” bested both actors’ career records, edging past the $41.5 million Sandler’s “Big Daddy” took in on its opening weekend in 1999 and the $40.5 million Nicholson’s “Batman” made when it debuted in 1989. “Anger Management” also marks a career record for director Peter Segal, whose biggest opening was 2000′s “The Nutty Professor II” with $42.5 million.

“Phone Booth” dropped to #2 with $7.5 million, a 50 percent drop from its #1 opening last weekend. Showcasing the acting prowess of Irish-born actor Colin Farrell as a man trapped by a sniper at a New York pay phone and cheaply made for a reported $10 million, “Phone Booth” has brought in $26.6 million. (Click for photos from “Phone Booth.” )

“Phone Booth” was originally due in late 2002 but was delayed a few months. Vin Diesel’s “A Man Apart” was shot nearly two years ago and was just released last week. The drug-war cop drama suffered the week’s biggest drop, down 60 percent from last weekend’s grosses with $4.4 million. The flick has made only $18.3 million, while costing New Line Cinema a reported $36 million.

Despite experiencing a fair share of delays as well, “House of 1000 Corpses” debuted at #7 with $3.4 million despite playing on less than 600 screens. Rob Zombie’s directorial debut may have to struggle a bit to recuperate its reported $7 million budget (Click for photos from “House of 1000 Corpses” ), but that’s nothing compared to “The Core,” which cost $85 million but has made only $25.6 million in three weeks of release. The fantasy thriller was #9 over the weekend with $3.2 million.

The rest of the weekend’s top 10 includes “What a Girl Wants” at #3 with $6.7 million, for a two-week $20.4 million total; “Bringing Down the House” at #4 with $4.6 million ($117.7 million, six weeks); Chris Rock’s “Head of State” at #6 with $4 million ($30.9 million, three weeks); Oscar-winning musical “Chicago” at #8 with $3.2 million ($156.9 million, sixteen weeks); and the John Travolta/ Samuel L. Jackson military drama “Basic” at #10 with $2.2 million ($23.8 million, three weeks).