With his slick onscreen skills and ace fighting abilities, Jason Statham helped deliver his new film, “Transporter 2,” to the top of the box-office heap.
The sequel to 2002’s “The Transporter” opened at #1 during the long Labor Day weekend, earning more than $20.2 million, according to early estimates. Reprising the role of ex-Special Forces operative Frank Martin, Statham plays a man on a break from his gig as a high-stakes courier-for-hire — working as a chauffeur for a 6-year-old rich kid. When the boy is kidnapped, Martin is forced back into action (see ” ’Transporter 2′ Delivers Explosive Lesson To Model Kate Nauta” ).
Slipping from its game is “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” which falls out of the #1 spot after two weeks on top, earning more than $16.5 million this weekend. The film stars “The Daily Show” veteran Steve Carell as an electronics-store worker with a passion for vintage toys who is content to live his life as an aging virgin — until his co-workers make it their personal mission to get him some action for the first time (see “For ’Virgin’ Leading Man Steve Carell, First Time’s A Charm” ).
This week’s other new release, “The Constant Gardener,” bowed at #3 with more than $10.8 million. The film, based on a John Le Carré novel, stars Ralph Fiennes as a member of the British High Commission in Nairobi out to solve the mystery behind the murder of his activist wife (Rachel Weisz).
Slipping a spot this week is another nail-biter, “Red Eye,” which fell from #3 to #4 with $9.3 million. Rachel McAdams stars as a young woman whose seatmate on a flight to Miami threatens to kill her father if she doesn’t aid him in his plot to assassinate a government official in this Wes Craven thriller (see “Wes Craven Brings A Different Kind Of Horror To ’Red Eye’ “ ).
With two heavy-hitting new releases in theaters this weekend, last week’s #2 flick, “The Brothers Grimm,” tumbled three spots from #2 to #5 with more than $7.9 million. Matt Damon and Heath Ledger star in “Grimm” as folklore collectors/con artists who travel from village to village claiming to be able to protect the townspeople from magical creatures (see “Ledger And Damon: Chasing Their Own Tales”).
“Four Brothers” lost a touch of its own magic this week as it fell out of the top five for the first time. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Andre 3000 and Garrett Hedlund as adopted siblings who reunite to avenge their mother’s death (see ” ’Four Brothers’ Stars See Justice In Bloody Tale Of Murder, Revenge” ), the film dropped from #4 to #6 with $6.4 million.
Rounding out this week’s box-office top 10 are “Wedding Crashers,” slipping from #6 to #7 with more than $5.7 million; “March of the Penguins,” dropping from #7 to #8 with more than $5.4 million; “The Skeleton Key,” falling from #8 to #9 with more than $4 million; and “The Cave,” sliding from #5 to #10 with $3.7 million.
Overall, ticket sales were up from the corresponding weekend last year.
Next week, look for “The Man” and “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” to debut on the box-office top 10.
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