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Family comedy triumphs again

Moviegoers embraced the dysfunctional family comedy Meet the Fockers for a second straight week as the star-studded sequel earned $42.8-million to retain its No. 1 slot at the weekend box office.

The film, which teams Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman, has grossed more than $163-million during its 12-day run, according to studio estimates.

Meet the Fockers set records for the biggest gross on New Year's Eve, with $12.2-million, and on New Year's Day, with $18-million. The previous New Year's Eve record was set in 2000 by Cast Away with $8.5-million. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King had held the New Year's Day mark with $12.8-million.

With no new major releases the final weekend of 2004, Meet the Fockers crushed the competition, including Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, which finished in second place with $14.7-million, and The Aviator, which earned $11.2-million for third place. Rounding out the top five were Fat Albert, at fourth with $10.7-million, and Ocean's Twelve, fifth with $9.2-million.

Meanwhile, Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera jumped one spot to ninth place, earning $4.8-million over the three-day period and $16.2-million to date.

Also notable was Disney's animated hit The Incredibles, which passed the $250-million mark Saturday.

Meet the Fockers saw just a 7 percent decline at the box office from its opening week. The film has attracted an older audience interested in seeing De Niro, Hoffman and Streisand, as well as younger fans who like Stiller.

Several movies debuted in limited release, including A Love Song for Bobby Long, The Merchant of Venice, The Assassination of Richard Nixon and In Good Company.

In Good Company, starring Dennis Quaid and Scarlett Johansson, opened Wednesday and grossed $229,000 on three screens nationwide. It will expand to 1,600 theaters on Jan. 14.

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