’8 Mile’ Goes The Distance With Record-Breaking Opening Weekend

Eminem's debut starring vehicle has an impressive $54.4 million opening weekend.

His third album’s still sitting comfortably in the top 10, the “8 Mile” soundtrack debuted at #1 and now, the world’s cockiest rapper has even more to smirk about. “8 Mile” took in $54.4 million at the box office over the weekend, according to studio estimates, making it the second largest opening for an R-rated picture of all time, and the highest debut for a first-time lead actor (Click for photos from the “8 Mile” premiere ).

Eminem’s semi-autobiographical “8 Mile” is also now the fifth-largest opening this year, the fifth-biggest November opening and #21 on the all-time list, sliding in right above “Scooby Doo.” The Curtis Hanson-directed/Brian Grazer-produced picture is now Universal’s fourth-largest opening,
behind the decidedly more family friendly “Jurassic Park” sequel “The Lost World,” “The Mummy Returns” and “The Grinch.”

Last week’s #1 movie, “The Santa Clause 2″ (see ” ‘Santa’ Outruns Spies, ‘Jackass’ Slides, ‘The Ring’ Holds On” ), was a distant second over the weekend, earning $24.8 million for a two-week $60.1 million total. Erotic thriller “Femme Fatale” (see “Rebecca Romijn-Stamos Overcomes
Fear Of Stripteases”
), which opened two days before “8 Mile,” landed at #9 with $2.8 million over the weekend for a $3.4 million overall total.

The rest of the weekend’s top 10 includes “The Ring” at #3 with $16 million for a 4 week $86.1 million total; “I Spy” at #4, with the reportedly $70 million movie making $9 million ($24.6 million, two weeks); “Jackass: The Movie” at #5 with $7.2 million ($53.3 million, three weeks); “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” at #6 with $5.7 million ($192.7 million; 30 weeks); Reese Witherspoon’s “Sweet Home Alabama” at #7 with $3.8 million ($118.6 million, seven weeks); “Ghost Ship” at #8 with $3.1 million ($26.1 million, three weeks) and “Punch Drunk Love” at #10 with $2.6 million ($14.6 million, five weeks).

Next week, “8 Mile” will go head-to-head with “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (see “Can ‘Harry Potter’ Stars Avoid Child Actor Doom?” ) the second film derived from the popular children’s novels, and the Ja Rule/Steven Seagal match-up “Half Past Dead.”