Lord Of The Frings!

‘The Two Towers’ Tops $100 Million in 5 Days
LOS ANGELES – The “Lord of the Rings” sequel dominated in its debut weekend, taking in $61.5 million ó 30 percent better than its predecessor did last year, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Altogether, “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” has grossed $101.5 million since opening Wednesday, compared to $75.1 million by “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” in the same period and $47.2 million in its first weekend.
“The Two Towers” opened in 3,622 theaters, an 8 percent increase over “Fellowship,” and averaged a whopping $16,980 a cinema over the weekend, compared with $14,055 for the first film.
Debuting at No. 2 was the Sandra Bullock-Hugh Grant romance “Two Weeks Notice,” which took in $14.4 million in 2,755 theaters for a $5,229 average. Last weekend’s top movie, Jennifer Lopez’s “Maid in Manhattan,” slipped to third place with $11 million.
Playing in narrower release, Martin Scorsese’s long-delayed epic “Gangs of New York” debuted with $9.1 million in 1,504 theaters, for a $6,064 average. The movie expands to about 2,150 theaters on Christmas.
Director Peter Jackson’s middle chapter in his mammoth adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy trilogy, “The Two Towers” also took in about $85 million overseas in the 26 countries where it has opened since Wednesday.
With nearly $190 million in the bank in just five days, distributor New Line Cinema expects “The Two Towers” to surpass the $860 million total worldwide gross of “Fellowship of the Ring” by 20 to 25 percent, said Rolf Mittweg, the studio’s head of worldwide marketing and distribution.
If that comes to pass, it would be only the second movie after “Titanic” to top $1 billion at the box office. “Titanic” leads the worldwide charts with $1.8 billion, with “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” at No. 2 with $968 million.
“When all is said and done, we want to be the No. 2 film worldwide after `Titanic,'” Mittweg said. “We think we’re on track to do that.”
“Gangs of New York” ó yanked off distributor Miramax’s schedule a year ago amid bickering over the final cut between Scorsese and Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein ó stars Leonard DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis and Cameron Diaz in a vengeance tale in 1860s Manhattan.
Miramax is counting on good word of mouth and attention through Hollywood’s awards season to build the film’s audience. “Gangs of New York” has scored solidly with early film honors, especially for Day-Lewis’ performance.
“The critical stamp of approval we’ve gotten has really overcome any questions about the film,” Rick Sands, Miramax’s chief operating officer, said of the feud between Scorsese and Weinstein. “I honestly don’t think the public takes any of that stuff that seriously, and Marty and Harvey have a relationship which is extremely positive.”
Miramax is co-financing Scorsese’s next film, the Howard Hughes film biography “The Aviator,” which also will star DiCaprio.
In limited release, Spike Lee’s “The 25th Hour” grossed $109,811 in five theaters for a $21,962 average. The film stars Edward Norton as a drug dealer on his last day before beginning a seven-year prison sentence.
Denzel Washington’s directing debut, “Antwone Fisher,” took in $217,500 in 15 theaters for a $14,500 average. Derek Luke stars as the real-life title character, a violent Navy sailor coming to grips with his traumatic childhood.
The police thriller “Narc,” starring Ray Liotta and Jason Patric, grossed $66,000 in six theaters, averaging $11,000.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,” $61.5 million.
2. “Two Weeks Notice,” $14.4 million.
3. “Maid in Manhattan,” $11 million.
4. “Gangs of New York,” $9.1 million.
5. “Drumline,” $7.6 million.
6. “The Wild Thornberrys Movie,” $6.1 million.
7. “The Hot Chick,” $4.5 million.
8. “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” $4.46 million.
9. “Star Trek: Nemesis,” $4.4 million.
10. “Die Another Day,” $4 million.