Brandon Gray

“The Lord of the Rings” relinquished the top spot for the first time after a 23-day reign as the new MTV comedy “Orange County” surprisingly bowed at No. 1 on Friday with an estimated $5.39 million from 2,317 theaters. “Rings” came in third place with an estimated $4.33 million from 3,381, edged out by the Russell Crowe drama “A Beautiful Mind” with $4.35 million from 2,220.

However, “Rings” still has a shot at claiming the top spot for the weekend as realistically these numbers indicate that the weekend is too close to call. “Orange” is tracking at $15 million, while “Mind” is pointing to around $14.5 million. “Rings” is in the same $14-15 million range.

“Rings” domestic total stands at $216.4 million in 24 days.

Overseas, “Rings” reached $253 million as of Thursday, 1/10. The domestic take was $212.1 million as of the date for a worldwide total of $465.1 million, ranking No. 3 among movies released in 2001 and No. 28 on the all time list. [More]