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''Along Came Polly'' unseats ''King'' at box office

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Jennifer Aniston, Along Came Polly

After four weeks of ”Lord of the Rings” domination, ”Along” comes a new No. 1 movie.

”Along Came Polly,” the new comedy starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston, easily topped the box office this weekend with a fantastic $27.6 million debut, according to studio estimates. ”Polly”’s very ”Something About Mary” ad campaign attracted enough fans to make the film the third-best January opening ever, behind ”Star Wars Special Edition”’s $35.9 million in 1997 and ”Black Hawk Down”’s $28.6 million two years ago.

Three films were in a virtual dead heat for second place, and as we saw last week with the ”Lord of the Rings”/”Big Fish” swap, the final numbers may be a bit different from the estimates. For now, ”Big Fish” looks like it might hold onto its second-place position thanks to a small 25 percent drop to $10.4 million. The new action film ”Torque” is close behind with a $10.3 million opening, while ”The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” slipped 28 percent to $10.2 million, bringing its total to $326.8 million, which makes it the No. 11 top domestic grosser of all time. Within days it will overtake No. 10, ”The Lion King,” which stands at $328.5 million.

One sure bet: Steve Martin’s ”Cheaper by the Dozen” is definitely in fifth place, sliding 26 percent to $8.8 million. With a total of $112 million, it’s now within $20 million of Martin’s other 2003 smash, ”Bringing Down the House.” Hey, this Martin guy could have a future.

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