Coach Carter, a real-life story, takes the box-office crown away from Meet the Fockers

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated January 16, 2005 08:00 PM

Samuel L. Jackson has finally put those Fockers in their place.

The leading man’s new movie, Coach Carter, in which he plays a real-life high school mentor who puts basketball on hold so his players can get up their grades, took the top spot on the box office this weekend, taking in $23.6 million and ending the three-week reign of the all-star Meet the Fockers.

Fockers, starring Ben Stiller, Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand, has so far brought in $230.8 million, according to studio estimates.

The films were followed by a strong opening for the live-action and computer-animated family film Racing Stripes, about a zebra with identity issues, and, expanding its release, the Dennis Quaid-Topher Grace comedy-drama In Good Company, which also stars Scarlett Johansson.

The opening of Jennifer Garner’s action flick Elektra, a spinoff of the Marvel Comics adaptation Daredevil, proved less than electrifying, taking in $12.5 million.

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

1. Coach Carter, $23.6 million
2. Meet the Fockers, $19 million
3. Racing Stripes, $14 million
4. In Good Company, $13.9 million
5. Elektra, $12.5 million
6. White Noise, 12.2 million
7. The Aviator, $4.8 million
8. Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events, $4 million
9. The Phantom of the Opera, $3.55 million
10. Ocean’s Twelve, $2.9 million