Will Smith's 'Hitch' Tops Box Office, Sets Record For Sony

Continuing his successful

run at the box office in the last few years, actor/rapper Will Smith's latest

movie "Hitch" brought in an estimated $45.3 million, debuting at No.

1 this weekend.

In his first romantic comedy, Smith diverged from his typical

action hero role, playing a New York City "date doctor" who helps

men with relationship dilemmas win over women. Smith's character has troubles

of his own when he falls in love with a woman played by Eva Mendes.

Additionally, "Hitch" broke Sony's record for biggest

opening for a romantic comedy, topping the $39.9 million that "50 First

Dates" brought in last year.

"He's one of those rare stars that just appeals to everyone,

men, women and children," Sony's head of distribution, Rory Bruer, told

the Associated Press. "There's no doubt he's somewhat of a king of action,

but he is every bit as good in comedy."

"Hitch," which may have also benefited from opening

during Valentine's Day weekend, is Smith's fifth-straight No. 1 debut, after

his animated movie "Shark Tale," and action films "I, Robot,"

"Bad Boys II" and "Men in Black II," all of which had stellar

opening numbers between $46 million and $52 million.

"Clearly, Will Smith is the man," Paul Dergarabedian,

president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations told the AP. "He can

open any kind of movie. He has multi-genre appeal."

Last weekend's top movie "Boogeyman," dropped to second

place, picking up an additional $10.8 million for a 10-day total of $33.3 million.

Sony Pictures held the top three positions this weekend with

"Hitch," "Boogeyman" and "Are We There Yet?" starring

rapper-turned-actor Ice


Final estimated figures from Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. for

ticket sales at North American theaters from Friday (Feb. 11) through Sunday

(Feb. 13) will be released Monday.