12/23 – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring ruled them all at the weekend box office, drawing an estimated $45.3 million over the Friday-Sunday period and lifting its five-day total to $71.5 million. In the process, it handily broke the December weekend record set by Ocean’s Eleven’s $38.1 million bow two weekends ago.
Breaking the weekend down, Rings grabbed about $14.3 million on Friday, $17 million on Saturday and projected to do about $13.9 million on Sunday. Its on track to do over $60 million for the five-day Christmas weekend (Friday-Tuesday), likely propelling its first week gross into the $90 million range and setting a course for around $150 million by the end of the year.
Overseas, Rings also pulled in an estimated $60 million in its first five days in 15 countries (13 in Europe plus New Zealand and South Africa). Leading the pack were the United Kingdom with $16 million, Germany with $13.5 million, France with $8.4 million and Spain with $4.8 million.
Add the two tallies together and Rings has around $133 million worldwide, which would make the 27th highest grossing picture of the year so far.
Actual three-day weekend numbers will be issued on Wednesday, 12/26 as Hollywood will be taking the 24th and 25th off. (Normally, actual numbers are issued on Monday afternoons.) But the Wednesday figures will also include the five-day weekend actuals (Friday-Tuesday).