'Were-Rabbit' Scares Off Box-Office Competition

Animated feature debuts at #1, while 'Flightplan' stays aloft at #2.

Cameron Diaz pranced around in four-inch heels, Matthew McConaughey bet his savings, Boris Kodjoe gave up a career in R&B and Ryan Reynolds dealt with disgruntled customers — but despite their best efforts, the #1 spot at the box office went to clay-animation duo Wallace and Gromit.

The G-rated "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" — starring characters voiced by Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes — earned $16.1 million, according to early estimates. The first full-length film featuring the pair of animated-short veterans, "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" centers on inventor Wallace, his brilliant dog, Gromit, and their humane pest-control business called Anti-Pesto. Just before their town's Giant Vegetable Competition, a huge, mysterious beast begins attacking (see "Rewind: What's So Funny About Scary Bunnies?"), and Wallace and Gromit's pest-control skills are swiftly called into action.

Staving off most of its competitors, "Flightplan" dropped just one notch this week, coming in at #2 with more than $10.7 million. Jodie Foster stars in the thriller as a mother who becomes distressed when she is unable to locate her daughter on a flight from Berlin to New York — and is even more concerned when no one on the flight seems to recall her daughter ever boarding the plane (see "Jodie Foster's 'Flightplan' Role Originally Written For A Guy, But 'Didn't Ring True' ").

Sashaying into the #3 spot with more than $10 million is "In Her Shoes," starring Cameron Diaz (Maggie) and Toni Collette (Rose) as sisters with opposite lifestyles who nonetheless need each other to feel whole (see "Sexy Feat, Sensible 'Shoes' "). In the dramatic comedy directed by Curtis Hanson, party girl Maggie is forced to learn how to fend for herself when her straight-laced sister Rose kicks her out of her apartment.

While his character may have a betting problem, let's hope Matthew McConaughey didn't place a large wager on his film earning the #1 spot at the box office during its opening weekend. "Two for the Money," which stars McConaughey as a former football star who turns to sports betting after an injury derails his athletic career, bowed at #4 with more than $8.3 million. Al Pacino co-stars in the film as a gambler-turned-bookie (see "Pacino And McConaughey Gamble On Each Other With 'Two For The Money' ").

In "The Gospel," Boris Kodjoe (TV's "Soul Food") plays a singer who turns his back on the church to pursue a career in R&B, only to return to a congregation in disarray. The film, which forces its lead to re-evaluate the direction his life has taken, bowed at #5 with $8 million.

A rush of new releases buried Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride" this week, pushing the film — which stars characters voiced by Burton mainstays Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp (see "Dead Ahead: Tim Burton's Sweetly Spooky 'Corpse Bride' ") — from #3 to #6 with more than $6.5 million.

Rounding out this week's box-office top 10 are "Waiting," which debuted at #7 with $5.7 million; "A History of Violence," which dropped from #4 to #8 with more than $5.1 million; "Serenity," which plummeted from #2 to #9 with more than $4.9 million; and "Into the Blue," which slipped from #5 to #10 with $4.8 million.

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

Next week, look for "North Country," "The Fog," "Domino" and "Elizabethtown" to debut in the box-office top 10.

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