‘Batman’ Beats Good Witch, Mischievous Car And Walking Dead

Dark Knight tops new releases 'Bewitched,' 'Herbie' and 'Land of the Dead.'

In the race between broomstick and Batmobile this week, the Dark Knight easily drove “Batman Begins” into the winning spot, claiming box-office ownership for the second week in a row.

Despite a trio of new releases hitting theaters this week, “Batman Begins” managed to hang on to the #1 position, besting Nicole Kidman’s “Bewitched,” Lindsay Lohan”s “Herbie: Fully Loaded,” and John Leguizamo”s “Land of the Dead.” Exploring the growth of Bruce Wayne from a young boy who sees his parents murdered to the crusader who works to fend of the evil forces threatening Gotham City (see “Bale Says Splitting Headache Helped Him Give Batman Dark Edge” ), “Batman Begins” pulled in more than $26.7 million in its second week in theaters, according to early estimates.

With a spot-on imitation of the nose twitch immortalized by Elizabeth Montgomery (who starred as Samantha on TV’s “Bewitched”), Kidman helped her latest film, “Bewitched,” debut at #2 on the box-office top 10, with $20.2 million. The feature-film update of the 1960s television series finds Kidman as Isabel Bigelow, a real-life witch cast as Samantha in a remake of the popular TV show (see ” ‘Bewitched’ Nicole Kidman Nose What To Do With Witchcraft” ). Will Ferrell plays Jack Wyatt, an actor cast as Darrin, Samantha’s mortal husband.

“Mr. & Mrs. Smith” is still keeping the rest of the competition at bay, remaining in the top three for the three consecutive weeks since its release. The film that stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as a couple of married assassins assigned to kill each other landed at #3 with more than $16.7 million.

For those who miss a red-haired and slightly more full-figured Lindsay Lohan, the actress’ latest film, “Herbie: Fully Loaded,” will help fuel nostalgia. The Disney film stars Lohan as Maggie Peyton, the daughter of a NASCAR champ (Michael Keaton), who joins the family tradition when she takes ownership of Herbie, a Volkswagen Beetle with a penchant for misbehavior (see “Lindsay Lohan Advises Herself To Say ‘No’ More” ). The film received a lukewarm reception from critics and moviegoers alike, debuting at #4 on the box-office top 10 with more than $12.7 million.

The last of this week’s new releases to land in the top 10, “George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead,” bowed at #5 with more than $10.2 million. Legendary horror director Romero (“Night of the Living Dead,” “Dawn of the Dead”) helms the film that stars Leguizamo as the leader of a group of humans attempting to fend off the masses of the walking dead that have overtaken the world (see “The Return Of The King: George Romero Is Back”).

After spending four weeks in the top three, “Madagascar” was unable to fight off the competition. In its fifth week in theaters, the animated family flick that has Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith and David Schwimmer lending their voices to a quartet of zoo animals dropped from the #3 to the #6 spot with $7.3 million.

Rounding out this week’s top 10 are “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith,” which fell from #4 to #7 with more than $6.2 million; “The Longest Yard,” which slipped from #5 to #8 with more than $5.4 million; “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lava Girl in 3D,” which slid from #6 to #9 with more than $3.4 million; and “Cinderella Man,” which fell from #7 to #10 with more than $3.2 million.

Overall, ticket sales were down from the corresponding weekend last year, helping this week mark Hollywood’s longest modern box-office slump, according to The Associated Press.

Next week, look for “War of the Worlds” to make the top 10 — and attempt to revive a flailing box office. Also opening is Martin Lawrence’s “Rebound.”

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