Ben Stiller and his nutty screen family top Cast Away and The Return of the King

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated January 03, 2005 08:00 AM

There’s no stopping Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman. Their dysfunctional comedy Meet the Fockers was No. 1 at the box office for the second straight week and shattered records for the biggest gross on New Year’s Eve, with $12.2 million, and on New Year’s Day, with $18 million, according to studio estimates.

This beat the previous New Year’s Eve record of $8.5 million set in 2000 by Cast Away. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King had held the New Year’s Day mark with $12.8 million, reports the Associated Press.

In its first 12 days, the movie, which drew a lukewarm response from the critics, has grossed more than $163 million, according to studio estimates.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, with Jim Carrey, finished second, and Martin Scorsese’s epic Howard Hughes biography, The Aviator, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, came in third – though more newsworthy is that the Disney-Pixar The Incredibles passed the $250-million mark Saturday and became the fourth-highest grossing film of 2004.

The top three were Shrek 2 ($441 million), Spider-Man 2 ($373 million) and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ ($370 million).

Unofficial figures compiled by Exhibitor Relations showed overall revenue for 2004 was some $9.4 billion, an increase of 1.4 percent over 2003’s $9.27 billion.

The weekend’s Top 10, according to studio estimates, were as follows:

1. Meet the Fockers, $42.8 million
2. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, $14.7 million
3. The Aviator, $11.2 million
4. Fat Albert, $10.7 million
5. Ocean’s Twelve, $9.2 million
6. National Treasure, $7 million
7. Spanglish, $6.3 million
8. The Polar Express, $5.7 million
9. The Phantom of the Opera, $4.8 million
10. Darkness, $4.5 million