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Monday, 24 December, 2001, 08:35 GMT
Rings reigns at box office
Some fans went to screenings in full costume
Some fans went to screenings in full costume
The Lord of the Rings was the most popular film in cinemas around the world this weekend - but it could not match Harry Potter's opening weekend magic.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring took $45.25m (31.4m) in the United States and Canada between Friday and Sunday, making it number one on the box office chart.

Sean Astin and Elijah Wood
Sean Astin and Elijah Wood play hobbits Sam and Frodo
But that was less than half the record-breaking total of $93.5m (65.7m) that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone earned on its opening US weekend in November.

The Lord of the Rings, based on JRR Tolkien's novel, has taken a total of more than $133m (92m) across the world since opening on Wednesday.

Film company New Line, who made the epic fantasy, has said it never expected The Lord of the Rings to match Harry Potter's opening box office totals.

It is aimed at an older audience and its three-hour running time restricts the number of times a day it can be shown on each screen.

US box office
1. The Lord of the Rings
2. Ocean's Eleven
3. Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
4. Vanilla Sky
5. How High
But its earnings have matched industry expectations, and are "definitely a relief," according to New Line's president of worldwide marketing and distribution, Rolf Mittweg.

Many fans attended screenings dressed as hobbits. "People like to be transported into another world", especially at Christmas, said Mr Mittweg.

The biggest totals at overseas cinemas came in the UK, where it took 11.1m over the weekend, and Germany, where it took DM30m (9.4m).

And in New Zealand, where the movie was filmed, it broke "every record in the book", Mr Mittweg said.

Jim Carrey: Latest film only entered at number eight
Jim Carrey: Latest film only entered at number eight
As for other new releases, Jim Carrey's drama The Majestic became one of the biggest flops of the year, entering the top 10 at number eight, earning just $5m (3.5m).

Carrey, better-known for his goofy comedy roles, plays an amnesiac screenwriter in a 1950s small town, unaware that he is being pursued in a communist witch hunt.

It was "definitely the worst big movie of the year", according to the Wall Street Journal.

Home Improvement and Galaxy Quest star Tim Allen also had a disappointing opening weekend, with comedy Joe Somebody coming in one place below The Majestic.

Rat Pack remake Ocean's Eleven, starring Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and George Clooney, was the second favourite movie in the US and Canada.

Vanilla Sky stars Cruz and Cruise
Vanilla Sky stars Cruz and Cruise
Animated film Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius was at number three, while Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz's Vanilla Sky was at number four.

Cannabis comedy How High, starring rappers Method Man and Redman, entered at number five, pushing Harry Potter down to six.

Meanwhile, plans have been announced for a third Scary Movie film - which will poke fun at fantastical blockbusters Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, according to reports.

Scary Movie 3: Episode I - Lord of the Brooms will be released at the end of the 2002 to coincide with the next instalments of the films it is spoofing.

It will be the story of an orphan who embarks on a magical quest around the world and beyond to rid the universe of evil, according to industry newspaper Variety.

See also:

24 Dec 01 | Arts
Potter's final chapter written
11 Dec 01 | Film
Harry Potter's weekend record
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