With only one new release attempting to challenge its reign, "National Treasure" kept a firm hold on the box-office loot for the third week in a row.
The adventure flick that stars Nicolas Cage held tightly to the #1 spot in the box-office top 10, raking in more than $17.1 million to bring its three-week pull to more than $110.2 million, according to early estimates. "National Treasure" features Cage playing Benjamin Franklin Gates, a descendent in a long line of treasure hunters searching for riches hidden by the country's Founding Fathers.
As Christmas draws closer, two big-budget holiday flicks moved closer to the warmth of the #1 position. Tim Allen's "Christmas With the Kranks," a film about a family that considers skipping Christmas to protest its commerciality, jumped a spot from #3 to #2 with $11.7 million. Tom Hanks' "The Polar Express," meanwhile, rose from #4 to #3 with more than $11 million.
As one animated film proved, superhero families have excellent staying power. Pixar's "The Incredibles" spends its fifth week in theaters at the #4 spot, dropping two notches from the #2 spot last week. The film took in more than $9.1 million.
Treading water at #5 is "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie," which maintains its position for the second week in a row. The popular cartoon-turned-feature-film that puts our absorbent hero at the center of a whodunit took in $7.8 million.
Given its limited release (476 theaters versus "National Treasure"'s 3,243), "Closer" bowed strongly at #6. The romantic drama about love and infidelity centers on the burgeoning romance between the characters of Julia Roberts and Jude Law, who in the film are already involved with the characters of Clive Owen and Natalie Portman, respectively. "Closer" earned $7.7 million in its first week in theaters.
"Alexander" has already begun to fall from its disappointing opening-week position. The big-budget Oliver Stone film about the life and conquests of Alexander the Great dropped from #6 to #7 with more than $4.7 million.
Rounding out the box-office top 10 this week are "Finding Neverland," which holds strong at #8 for the second week in a row with more than $2.8 million; "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason," which nears the edge of the top 10 by falling two spots from #7 to #9 with $2.8 million; and "Ray," which falls one spot from #9 to #10 with $1.9 million.
Overall, ticket sales were down slightly from the corresponding weekend last year.
Next week, look for "Blade: Trinity" and "Ocean's Twelve" to debut in the box-office top 10. Opening in limited release is Bill Murray's "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou."
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