Box Office: Grinch Steals Holiday Hearts

'Tis the season to spend money, and moviegoers seemed more than happy to open their wallets for Jim Carrey's fuzzy, nasty Grinch. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas made a splash at No. 1 by raking in $55.1 million in its opening weekend, according to studio estimates released Sunday.

If that hefty figure holds when final receipts are tallied, it will be a career best for Carrey, who endured painful makeup and costume sessions for his transformation into the holiday-hating Grinch.

Carrey's previous best debut was Batman Forever, with a $52.7 million take, while Grinch director Ron Howard's biggest was the Mel Gibson kidnap thriller Ransom, which opened to $34.2 million in 1996.

It took a children's classic tale like The Grinch to knock chick flick Charlie's Angels out of the No. 1 slot. The actioner's $13.7 million haul dropped it to No. 3 this weekend, but Angels is ready to earn its $100 million wings with an estimated 17-day gross of $93.6 million.

Three other films debuted in the top 10 this weekend. Kiddie comedy Rugrats in Paris: The Movie bowed at No. 2, with $23 million; the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi thriller The 6th Day came in fourth, with $13.2 million; and the Ben Affleck-Gwyneth Paltrow romantic comedy Bounce landed at No. 5, with $11.5 million.

The week's biggest dropoffs were Adam Sandler's Little Nicky, which fell five slots to No. 7, with $7.7 million; The Legend of Bagger Vance at No. 9, with $2.9 million; and Red Planet, which hung on to No. 10, with $2.7 million.

The estimated gross of the Top 12 films is up 42 percent from the same weekend last year and increased 53 percent from last weekend.

The Top 10 films for Nov. 17-19, 2000:

1. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, $55.1 million 2. Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, $23 million 3. Charlie's Angels, $13.7 million 4. The 6th Day, $13.2 million 5. Bounce, $11.5 million 6. Men of Honor, $8 million 7. Little Nicky, $7.7 million 8. Meet the Parents, $6.4 million 9. The Legend of Bagger Vance, $2.9 million 10. Red Planet, $2.7 million

Final figures will be released Monday.

Reuters contributed to this story.

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