Jackson’s ‘Coach Carter’ Is The Week’s Box-Office Champ

'Meet the Fockers' slips to #2.

On the strength of its coaching, a high school basketball team was able to take a strong lead over the Focker family.

Samuel L. Jackson’s “Coach Carter” bowed at #1 on the box-office top 10 this weekend with $23.6 million, according to early estimates. Those high numbers helped the film nab the top spot from “Meet the Fockers,” which held strong for three straight weeks.

In the film, Jackson portrays a high school basketball coach who sparks the ire of his undefeated team and its loyal fans when he benches the players because of their failing grades. In her first big-screen acting gig, Ashanti plays Kyra, the girlfriend of the team’s star player, who becomes pregnant.

After a strong run at the top, the dynamic duo of the Focker and Byrnes families failed to score the top spot for another week. The comedy, which stars Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand slipped a spot to #2 with $19 million.

“Racing Stripes,” the feel-good family flick about a zebra with an identity complex, bowed strongly at #3 with more than $14 million. The animated film features Frankie Muniz as the voice of the aforementioned zebra, who grows up believing he is a racehorse. Mandy Moore voices a teenage girl who, along with the zebra’s friends, helps him reach his goal of racing with thoroughbred horses.

“In Good Company” joined the race for #1 this week when it debuted on the top 10 at #4 with $13.9 million, after being shown in limited release. The dramatic comedy stars Dennis Quaid as Dan Foreman, head of ad sales for a sports magazine, who is demoted from his position to make way for the much younger Carter Duryea (Topher Grace). In the film, Dan and Carter’s business relationship changes when Carter falls for Dan’s daughter, played by Scarlett Johansson.

“Elektra” fought its way into theaters this week and bowed on the top 10 at #5 with $12.5 million. In the action/adventure film, Elektra (Jennifer Garner) is a hired assassin sent by the leader of the Order of the Hand, the assassins who helped train her, to murder a man and his 13-year-old daughter. Elektra finds herself torn between her assignment and her desire to befriend the father and daughter and save them.

Having debuted at #2 last week, the thriller flick “White Noise,” which stars Michael Keaton as a man who makes contact with the dead through electronic voice phenomena, dropped to #6 with $12.2 million.

Rounding out the top 10 this week are “The Aviator,” which, despite winning the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama, took a four-spot nosedive from #3 to #7 with more than $4.7 million; “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events,” which dropped from #4 to #8 with more than $3.9 million; Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera,” which remained at #9 with more than $3.5 million; and “Ocean’s Twelve,” which fell from #6 to #10 with more than $2.8 million.

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

Next week, look for “Assault on Precinct 13″ and “Are We There Yet?” to debut on the box-office top 10.

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