Beauty may have killed the beast, but it was the combined power of the stunner and brute that pummeled the competition and landed "King Kong" in the #1 position on the box-office top 10.
"King Kong" pulled in $66.2 million since opening Wednesday, and earned more than $50.1 million over the weekend, according to early estimates. Though those numbers helped pull Hollywood out of a box-office slump, they were still lower than expected for Peter Jackson's costly remake of the 1933 classic.
In the new "Kong," Naomi Watts reprises Fay Wray's damsel-in-distress role, playing Ann Darrow, an actress taken to Skull Island by pompous filmmaker Carl Denham (Jack Black) who plans to use her as his leading lady. Things get a bit, um, hairy when Ann is kidnapped by native warriors and given to Kong as a sacrifice. But instead of devouring the tiny blonde, Kong falls in love with her, and is taken to New York where he makes it his mission to find and keep her (see " 'King Kong': A Love Story With A Giant, Hairy Heart").
While Kong knocked "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" out of the #1 spot, "Narnia" held its own against another major new release, "The Family Stone." Based on the popular C.S. Lewis novel, "The Chronicles of Narnia" follows four children who discover a wardrobe that leads to another world where talking animals, dwarves and giants are being kept in a state of perpetual winter by the evil White Witch (see " 'The Chronicles Of Narnia': The Next Lit Hit?"). In its second week in theaters, the film slipped to the #2 spot with more than $31.1 million.
Coming in behind the oversized ape and chatty animals is the romantic comedy "The Family Stone," bowing at #3 with more than $12.7 million. The film stars Sarah Jessica Parker as a quintessential neurotic New Yorker who is visiting the tight-knit family of her boyfriend, Everett (Dermot Mulroney), for the first time. The ensemble film also stars Diane Keaton as Everett's mother, Rachel McAdams as his sister and Luke Wilson as his brother.
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" continues to hold strong in the top five after five weeks in theaters, falling just one spot from #3 to #4 with more than $5.9 million (see "No More Child's Play").
George Clooney's "Syriana" slipped three spots from #2 to #5 this week. The political thriller, which also stars Matt Damon, Chris Cooper and William Hurt, earned more than $5.4 million (see "Clooney's Desire For Political Debate Comes At A Price: Fingernail Torture"). "Walk the Line," the Johnny Cash biopic starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, slid two notches from #4 to #6 with more than $3.6 million (see "Johnny Cash Was 'Thrilled' Joaquin Phoenix Would Play Him, 'Line' Director Says").
Rounding out this week's top 10 are "Yours, Mine and Ours," which fell from #5 to #7 with more than $3.1 million; "Brokeback Mountain," which debuted on the top 10 at #8 with more than $2.3 million; "Just Friends," which slipped from #7 to #9 with more than $1.9 million; and "Aeon Flux," which dropped from #6 to #10 with more than $1.6 million.
Overall, ticket sales were up from the corresponding weekend last year.
Next week, look for "Cheaper by the Dozen 2," "Fun With Dick and Jane," "Memoirs of a Geisha," "The Ringer" and "Rumor Has It" to debut on the box-office top 10. Also opening in limited release is "Munich."
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