Despite mixed reviews, the Ashton Kutcher thriller "The Butterfly Effect" flew into first place over the weekend on estimated grosses of $17.1 million. After conquering the small screen on "That '70s Show" and "Punk'd," the #1 debut of the time-travel drama bodes well for Kutcher's leading-man prospects, adding to his success in last January's romantic comedy "Just Married," which opened to almost identical first-week grosses.
Last week's #1 movie saw a 40 percent sales drop-off, as the Ben Stiller/ Jennifer Aniston comedy "Along Came Polly" dipped to #2 on estimated grosses of $16.6 million, bringing its two-week total to $53.5 million. Kutcher's "That '70s Show" castmate Topher Grace couldn't pull them in like Demi's beau; his romantic comedy, "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" — co-starring Kate Bosworth and Josh Duhamel — debuted at #3 on grosses of $7.5 million.
Tim Burton's "Big Fish" slipped to #4 on grosses of $7.3 million, followed by "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," which took in an estimated $6.8 million — as well as four Golden Globes Sunday night (see"Third Time's A Charm For 'Lord Of The Rings' At Golden Globes").
Last week's #4 movie, the Ice Cube motorcycle drama "Torque," saw a nearly 56 percent dip as it skidded to #8 on grosses of $4.4 million in its second weekend in theaters. With three Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, as well as a Golden Globe best-actor win for Sean Penn, "Mystic River" had an 844 percent uptick in business as it added more than 1,100 theaters, grossing $3.1 million to land at #10.
Rounding out the top 10 are "Cheaper By the Dozen" at #6 with $6.6 Million, "Cold Mountain" at #7 with $5 million and "Something's Gotta Give" at #9 with $4.1 million.
The top 12 movies grossed $83.5 million, putting the weekend's take about four percent above the same period last year, when the top 12 brought in $80 million.
For Kurt Loder's take on "The Butterfly Effect," check out " 'Butterfly Effect': Two Hours Of Idiot Teen-Hunk Exploitation? By Kurt Loder."