I saw “Cold Mountain” this weekend. It wasn’t great, but Nicole Kidman looked awesome!

‘Return of the King’ Reigns at Box Office
LOS ANGELES – The final installment of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy continued to reign at the box office despite a handful of new openings as Hollywood had its best Christmas weekend ever.
“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” pulled in $51.2 million in ticket sales for a total of $224 million since opening two weeks ago, according to studio estimates released Sunday.
The fantasy film also posted the best Christmas Day gross of any current movie, $14.6 million.
Out of the gate, the movie also has outstripped the first two chapters of the trilogy. It took just 11 days to cross the $200 million mark ó one day less than part two, “The Two Towers.”
Four movies opened over the holiday weekend, including “Cheaper by the Dozen.” The Steve Martin comedy was No. 2 with $28.2 million over the weekend.
The Civil War epic “Cold Mountain” opened in third place with $14.5 million. The R-rated, 2 1/2-hour movie opened on 2,167 screens.
“Paycheck,” a summer-style action movie, opened with $13.9 million, and “Peter Pan,” a live-action retelling of the classic story, grossed $11.4 million.
The total estimated weekend box office receipts for the top dozen pictures was $168.6 million, a record, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracking company Exhibitor Relations. The top 12 movies over the same weekend last year pulled in $155.9 million, or 8.2 percent less, he said.
The range of new openings in wide release, the opportunity to catch up on older movies and the “Lord of the Rings” finale combined to make it “a perfect Christmas weekend at the movies,” Dergarabedian said.
“Hollywood would love a Christmas like this next year,” he said.
“Return of the King,” directed by Peter Jackson, wraps up the trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic adventure of hobbits, wizards, humans, elves and dwarves battling for control of the mythical realm of Middle-earth. The ensemble cast includes Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen and Cate Blanchett.
“They have had a major investment in the characters over the last few years. They are waiting for the dramatic ending,” said Rolf Mittweg, president and chief operating officer for New Line, which distributed the movie.
“Cold Mountain,” an $80 million epic directed by Oscar-winner Anthony Minghella, features an ensemble cast led by Nicole Kidman, also an Academy Award winner. It co-stars Jude Law and Renee Zellweger, both previous Oscar nominees.
The film is adapted from Charles Frazier’s Civil War best seller of the same name. It is a reimagining of Homer’s “The Odyssey,” in which a wounded Confederate deserter (Law) makes his way home to his sweetheart (Kidman).
“That’s a film that will still be around when Oscar nominations are announced” in late January, Dergarabedian said.
“Return of the King,” meanwhile, could go on to become the second movie to top $1 billion worldwide, after 1997’s “Titanic” ($1.8 billion). By Sunday, it already had taken in $492 million, according to New Line estimates.
“Elf” slipped to the bottom of the top 10 list ó a strong showing all the same for a movie in its eighth week of release, Dergarabedian said. The Christmas comedy starring Will Ferrell has taken in $164.9 million.

Here are the estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” $51.2 million.
2. “Cheaper By the Dozen,” $28.2 million.
3. “Cold Mountain,” $14.5 million.
4. “Something’s Gotta Give,” $14.2 million.
5. “Paycheck,” $13.9 million.
6. “Mona Lisa Smile,” $11.5 million.
7. “Peter Pan,” $11.4 million.
8. “The Last Samurai,” $8.4 million.
9. “Bad Santa,” $4.5 million.
10. “Elf,” $4.3 million.