Stephen M. Silverman
December 27, 2004 08:00 AM

Despite critics’ wanting more from a movie that brings together Raging Bull, Ratso Rizzo and Funny Girl, Meet the Fockers – starring Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand, as well as Ben Stiller – has set a record for the best Christmas weekend opening ever.

The Meet the Parents sequel made an estimated $44.7 million over the holiday weekend and $68.5 million since it opened Wednesday. The weekend tally beat the previous, $30 million record set in 2002 by Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me if You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Fockers also knocked last week’s top film – Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, with Jim Carrey, Jude Law and Meryl Streep – to third place, right below the new live-action version of Fat Albert, reports the Associated Press.

Martin Scorsese’s epic The Aviator, headlining DiCaprio as iconoclastic industrialist Howard Hughes, placed fourth, despite its limited release. Also playing in a few selected theaters is Andrew Lloyd Weber’s 10th-place The Phantom of the Opera, the scathing reviews for which should send the composer hiding in the catacombs under the Paris Opera House.

The Top 10 movies since Friday, according to studio estimates, are as follows:

1. Meet the Fockers, $44.7 million
2. Fat Albert, 12.7 million
3. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, $12.5 million
4. The Aviator, $9.4 million
5. Ocean’s Twelve, $8.6 million
6. Darkness, $6.4 million
7. The Polar Express, $6.3 million
8. Spanglish, $5 million
9. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, $4.8 million
10. Andrew Lloyd Weber’s The Phantom of the Opera, $4.2 million

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