‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’ Scores Box-Office #1

Comedy grabs top spot with thriller 'Red Eye' in at #2.

Steve Carell had quite a successful first time this weekend, scoring #1 at the box office and marking his leading-man debut with “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”

“The Daily Show” veteran stars as Andy Stitzer — a 40-year-old electronics-store employee who has never had sex — in the film, which debuted in the top spot on the box-office top 10 with more than $20.5 million. “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” follows Stitzer’s buddies’ mission to help their good-natured friend get some action, a plan that hits a roadblock when Stitzer starts dating a 40-year-old single mother (Catherine Keener) with whom he has agreed to a no-sex policy (see “For ‘Virgin’ Leading Man Steve Carell, First Time’s A Charm” ).

Right behind “Virgin” is a film in which the main character has a lot more than virginity to lose. “Red Eye,” which bowed at #2 with $16.5 million, stars Rachel McAdams as Lisa Reisert, a young woman whose fear of flying is validated when she becomes a pawn in an assassination plot. In the Wes Craven-directed thriller, Lisa’s seatmate (Cillian Murphy) wants her help offing a wealthy executive, and threatens to have Lisa’s own father killed if she fails to comply (see “Wes Craven Brings A Different Kind Of Horror To ‘Red Eye’ “ ).

Under the weight of this week’s two new releases, last week’s #1 film, “Four Brothers,” was pushed down to the #3 spot. With Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Andre Benjamin and Garrett Hedlund starring as four adopted siblings reunited by a need to avenge the death of their mother (see ” ‘Four Brothers’ Stars See Justice In Bloody Tale Of Murder, Revenge” ), “Four Brothers” earned $13 million.

“Wedding Crashers” continued to draw in a steady stream of viewers in its sixth week in theaters. Starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as reception-invading ladies men (see “Such A Happy Couple: Wilson And Vaughn Crash Hollywood’s A-List”), the comedy held on to the #4 spot with more than $8.2 million.

“The Skeleton Key,” however, failed to unlock the secret to consistent box-office success, dropping three spots from #2 to #5 in its second week in theaters. Starring Kate Hudson and boasting a plot twist to rival that of “The Sixth Sense,” “The Skeleton Key” earned more than $7.4 million.

“March of the Penguins” continues to march up the box-office top 10 in its ninth week in theaters. The documentary about a flock of penguins’ epic annual journey across the Antarctic rose a spot from #7 to #6 with more than $6.6 million.

Rounding out this week’s top 10 are “Valiant,” which debuted at #7 with more than $6 million; “The Dukes of Hazzard,” which plummeted from #3 to #8 with more than $5.7 million; “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which slipped from #6 to #9 with more than $4.5 million; and “Sky High,” which fell from #8 to #10 with more than $4 million.

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

Next week, look for “The Brothers Grimm” to debut on the box-office top 10.