'Along Came Polly' ... And Down Went The 'King'

Jennifer Aniston/ Ben Stiller comedy knocks off month-long box-office ruler.

After a scare from a "Big Fish" last week, "The Lord of the Rings: The

Return of the King" was finally usurped at the box office after a month

in the top slot by the latest Bennifer offering, "Along Came Polly."

No, not that Bennifer; the new power coupling consists of Ben

Stiller and Jennifer Aniston.

The romantic comedy about unlucky-in-love, germ-phobic risk assessor Stiller took in $27.6 million, according to studio estimates (click for photos from "Along Came Polly"), giving it

the highest grossing Martin Luther King holiday weekend opening ever,

beating the previous champ, 2001's "Save the Last Dance" ($23.4

million).

A week after its studio erroneously claimed it had beat out "The Return of the King," the Tim Burton tall-tale fantasy "Big Fish" held

on to a distant second place with an estimated $10.4 million. Nipping

at its heels was the new Ice Cube motorcycle drama, "Torque," which

came in at third with $10.3 million (click for photos from "Torque"), followed by "King" with $10.2

million. The final installment of Peter Jackson's epic trilogy has

already banked $326.8 million domestically and more than $771 million

around the globe, with estimates holding for it to potentially cross

the billion-dollar mark.

The Steve Martin ensemble comedy "Cheaper by the Dozen" continued its

strong showing at #5 with an estimated $8.7 million, putting its

one-month total at $111 million. Both the Tom Cruise drama "The Last

Samurai" and the Jack Nicholson comedy "Something's Gotta Give" also

passed the $100 million mark over the weekend.

The only other new movie in wide release, the PG-13 cartoon "Disney's Teacher's Pet," was a flop, limping into the #13 spot on grosses of

$2.4 million. The news was better for the critically acclaimed Charlize

Theron drama "Monster," which picked up nearly 80 percent more business

in limited release to land at #16 with $1.5 million in estimated

grosses.

Rounding out the top 10 are "Cold Mountain" at #6 with $7 million; "Something's Gotta Give" at #7 with $6 million; "My Baby's Daddy" at #8

with $3.6 million; "The Last Samurai" at #9 with $3.12 million and

"Calendar Girls" at #10 with $3.1 million.

With the top 12 movies taking in $95.6 million overall, box-office

receipts were four percent less than the same weekend last year.