‘Passion’ Lays Siege To ‘The Alamo’ Over Easter Weekend

Gibson's biblical epic now #8 on all-time domestic list; Disney's historical drama limps in at #3.

Davy Crockett didn’t stand a chance over the Easter holiday weekend. After three weeks out of the top spot, “The Passion of the Christ” stormed back into first place, trouncing the historical siege drama “The Alamo.”

Mel Gibson’s religious epic easily took the crown with an estimated $17.1 million, bringing its to-date domestic total to nearly $355 million. The movie picked up a remarkable 61 percent more business in its seventh week in theaters, bolstering suggestions that it might blossom into an annual event film tied to the celebration of Easter. The healthy box office helped Gibson’s film pass “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” on the all-time domestic box-office list, taking the #8 spot just behind “Jurassic Park.”

Meanwhile, Disney’s “The Alamo,” starring Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett and Jason Patric as James Bowie, opened at #3 with an estimated $9.2 million, a disappointment given the film’s reported $100 million budget. Last week’s #1 movie, the comic-book adaptation “Hellboy,” fell one notch on $11.1 million, bringing its two-week total to $41.1 million.

The Cedric the Entertainer comedy “Johnson Family Vacation” also debuted over the holiday weekend, taking in $9.2 million to tie for the #3 slot. Adding further insult to “Alamo”‘s injury was the fact that the poorly reviewed “Vacation” was playing in half as many theaters. Despite losing close to 50 percent of its audience in its second week in theaters, the Rock’s remake of “Walking Tall” managed to snag the #5 spot with $8.3 million.

A number of new releases also broke into the bottom half of the top 10, including the Matthew Perry/ Bruce Willis sequel, “The Whole Ten Yards,” which debuted at #8 with $6.7 million. It was followed by “Ella Enchanted” at #9 with $6.1 million and “The Girl Next Door” rounding out the top movies with $6 million. All those new titles pushed a number of relative newcomers out of the top slots. “The Prince and Me” fell to #11 in its second week, while Tom Hanks’ “The Ladykillers” dipped five spots to #12 in just its third week. Also beating a hasty retreat from the top 12 was Ben Affleck’s “Jersey Girl,” which slipped five spots to #13 on $3.1 million in grosses.

Rounding out the top 10 are “Home on the Range” at #6 with $8.1 million and “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed” at #7 with $8 million.

Keeping Hollywood’s winning streak intact, overall box-office totals rose again — for the seventh straight week — from the same period last year, with the top 12 movies taking in 13 percent more than the same weekend last year.

More shake-ups are expected next weekend as Quentin Tarantino unwraps the sequel to his martial-arts opus, “Kill Bill Vol. 2,” while former Tarantino star John Travolta joins the comic-book remake train with his role in “The Punisher.”

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