‘Shark Tale’ Devours All Comers, Sets New Box-Office Record

'Ladder 49' bows at #2.

There’s nothing quite like throwing a shark into the water to stir things up.

“Shark Tale,” the animated flick featuring colorful fish voiced by stars like Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Angelina Jolie and Renée Zellweger, opened with the highest October box-office pull in history. The DreamWorks flick bowed at #1 with $49.1 million, according to early estimates.

A mob flick for the cartoon set, “Shark Tale” centers on a young fish named Oscar who becomes the prime suspect in the murder of the shark mob boss’ son. The film beat the former record for highest October box-office draw of $48 million, held by the 2003 release “Scary Movie 3.”

Also debuting well this weekend was “Ladder 49,” starring John Travolta, Joaquin Phoenix and Jacinda Barrett. “Ladder 49,” which bowed at #2 with more than $22.7 million, tells the story of firefighter Jack Morrison (Phoenix), who, finding himself trapped in a massive fire in a 20-story building, reflects on how his choice of a dangerous career has hurt his relationship with his family.

From one man reflecting on his familial ties to a set of parents who are being forced to forget theirs, “The Forgotten” dropped two spots from #1 to #3 this week. The thriller flick, which stars Julianne Moore and features Gary Sinise, took in $12 million.

“Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” suffered a similar two-notch tumble, landing at #4 with more than $3.3 million in its third week in theaters. The same fate befell Bernie Mac’s “Mr. 3000,” which dropped from #3 to #5 with more than $2.6 million.

One of the most impressive opening pulls of the week belongs to independent film “Woman Thou Art Loosed,” which, though showing in only 408 theaters, debuted at #6. The drama, an adaptation of a self-help novel, follows a woman on death row, visited by Bishop T.D. Jakes (playing himself), who attempts to coach her through reconciling her life to a history of abuse, addiction and prostitution.

“Shaun of the Dead,” also playing in a relatively small number of theaters, held court at #7 again this week with more than $2.4 million in ticket sales.

Rounding out the box-office top 10 are three films which each fell four spots. “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” dropped from #4 to #8 with $2.3 million; “First Daughter” slid from #5 to #9 with more than $2.1 million; and “Cellular” fell from #6 to #10 with more than $2 million.

Overall ticket sales were up from the corresponding weekend last year.

Next week, look for “Friday Night Lights” and “Raise Your Voice” to debut in the box-office top 10.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Shark Tale.”

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