‘Chicken Little’ Tops 50 Cent To Rule The Weekend Box-Office Roost

Family-friendly film has a better weekend than R-rated 'Get Rich or Die Tryin'.'

Despite major new releases “Zathura,” “Derailed” and “Get Rich or Die Tryin’ ” hitting theaters, the family-friendly “Chicken Little” clung to the #1 position again, earning more than $32 million, according to early estimates.

Dropping only 20 percent from opening-week ticket sales, the film featuring Zach Braff as the voice behind the bespectacled title character performed well its second weekend out. In the feature, the plucky hero works to save the world from the falling sky without help from the doubting townspeople (see “Zach Braff Calls ‘Chicken Little’ ‘Garden State’ On A Farm” ).

Things really are falling from the sky in the “Jumanji”-esque “Zathura,” which bowed at #2 with $14 million (see “How Do You Sell A Movie These Days? Online Satanic Newscasts” ). In the PG-rated sci-fi flick, two brothers stumble upon an space-themed board game that comes to life every time they take a turn, sparking meteor showers and visits from astronauts.

Jennifer Aniston’s new film, “Derailed,” debuted at #3 with $12.8 million. Aniston and Clive Owen’s characters have a fateful meeting during their morning commute that leads to an affair between the married executives. Things turn sour, however, when a vicious criminal threatens blackmail.

50 Cent’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” the R-rated look at one man’s climb from the dangerous existence of a street hustler to the charmed life of a hip-hop star, hit #4 on the box-office chart (see “50 Says He’s No ‘Super Actor’ — And Tells Em He’s Not A Sucker” ). If you’re shocked that the man behind two multiple-platinum albums didn’t hit #1 with his film debut, don’t be. Though it opened Wednesday, the movie’s box-office ranking depends solely on Friday to Sunday estimates. And “Get Rich,” which earned $12.5 million over the weekend and a total of $18.2 million since its release, played in far fewer theaters than “Zathura” or “Derailed,” averaging nearly $7,600 per screen from Friday on. (To put that in perspective, “Chicken Little” averaged nearly $8,800, while “Zathura” and “Derailed” averaged just over $4,300 and $5,200 respectively).

“Jarhead” couldn’t hang onto the #2 spot this week with its $12.2 million take. Three new releases pushed the war film, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx as Marines fighting in the Middle East, down to #5. Gyllenhaal stars as Anthony “Swoff” Swofford, the Marine who wrote the Gulf War-set book on which the film is based (see ” ‘Jarhead’: Stuck In The Suck” ).

“Saw II,” the twisted sequel to last year’s “Saw,” dropped from #3 to #6 with $9.4 million. Jigsaw returns to horrifying form in the feature, locking eight people in a house and informing them that the slow-acting poison they’re breathing in will kill them all unless they can find a common link between them — and a way out (see ” ‘Saw II’: A Sequel With Guts?” ).

“The Legend of Zorro” fell from #4 to #7 with $6.6 million; “Prime” slipped from #5 to #8 with more than $3.9 million; and “Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story” slid from #6 to #9 with $3.8 million.

The Keira Knightley costume drama “Pride and Prejudice” debuted at #10 with $2.8 million, boasting the weekend’s highest per-screen average with over $13,000 per screen.

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

Next week, look for “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and “Walk the Line” to debut on the box-office top 10. “Breakfast on Pluto,” starring Cillian Murphy, opens in limited release.

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