According to The Hollywood Reporter, as expected, Universal's Meet the Fockers took first place in the boxoffice race during the first official weekend of the new year, taking in a stellar estimate of $28.5 million while slipping a slim 32% in its third session. The blockbuster comedy sequel, starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro, shot past the $200 million mark Sunday as the cume-to-date moved to an estimated $204.3 million -- making it the sixth-highest-grossing release in 2004. But what wasn't expected was the big splash made in the second spot by the distributor's Michael Keaton starrer, White Noise, a low-budget supernatural thriller from Gold Circle Films, which conjured up an estimated $24 million.
White Noise was the only wide release this weekend, and industry observers thought it would open in the $12 million-$15 million range. With Universal having films in the top two spots -- with a combined gross of $52.5 million -- the distributor tapped a controlling 53% of the boxoffice total for the weekend's top 12 films. The last time the studio had films in first and second place in the same weekend was in April 2000, with U-571 and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas.