'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 ([article id="1484058"]click for photos from "Along Came Polly"[/article]), 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 ([article id="1484192"]click for photos from "Torque"[/article]), 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.