'V' For Victory: 'Vendetta' Takes Box-Office #1 With $26.1 Million

Controversial action film outruns 'Failure to Launch' by over $10 million.

Natalie Portman and the creators of "The Matrix" won a battle at the box office this weekend with "V for Vendetta."

The action/adventure film bowed at the top of the box-office ranks, earning more than $26.1 million, according to early estimates. Set in a futuristic Britain run by a totalitarian regime, "V For Vendetta" features Portman as Evey, a woman saved by a masked vigilante who goes by the name of V. As Evey grows to understand V's plot against the government, she joins his revolution (see "Beautiful Bald Babe And Masked Rebel Fight For Freedom In 'V For Vendetta' ").

With "V" making a statement at #1 this week, last week's big winner, "Failure to Launch," dropped to #2. Starring Matthew McConaughey as a man in his 30s who sees nothing wrong with living with his parents and Sarah Jessica Parker as the woman who makes it her mission to prove him wrong, the film earned more than $15.8 million (see " 'Failure To Launch' Addresses National Epidemic: 'Adultescents' ").

The family-friendly remake "The Shaggy Dog," starring Tim Allen, slipped from #2 to #3 with more than $13.6 million its second week in theaters. Allen stars as a family man who turns into a dog after he is bit by one. The transformation lets the father of two look in on his family from the outside, leading him to realize that he needs to devote more time to his home life and less to his job.

The teen comedy "She's the Man," the only new film other than "Vendetta" to make the top 10, bowed at #4 with more than $11 million. The film stars Amanda Bynes as Viola Johnson, a teenager who goes undercover as her twin brother in order to enroll in an all-male prep school. Although soccer is her focus, Viola starts to fall for her roommate — who has no idea she's not a guy (see "Amanda Bynes Says She's 'Hideous' As A Man In Latest Flick").

Moving from family-friendly flicks to terrifying thrillers, "The Hills Have Eyes" dropped from #3 to #5 with more than $8 million. The suspense remake centers on a family that becomes stranded in a seemingly deserted area that is actually the home of a mutant family out for blood (see " 'High Tension' Director Remakes Craven Classic 'Hills Have Eyes' -- Only Freakier").

The action flick "16 Blocks" fell from #4 to #6 after three weeks on the box-office top 10. Starring Bruce Willis as an aging cop saddled with the task of transporting a witness (Mos Def) the short distance from the police station to the courthouse, the film earned more than $4.7 million (see "Rewind: Drive South On Broadway, Take A Left On Sunset Boulevard").

Rounding out this week's box-office top 10 are "Eight Below," which slips from #6 to #7 with more than $4.1 million; Tyler Perry's "Madea's Family Reunion," which falls from #5 to #8 with $3 million; "The Pink Panther," which holds tight at #9 with $2.5 million; and "Aquamarine," which drops from #7 to #10 with more than $2 million.

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

Next week, look for "Stay Alive" and "Inside Man" to debut on the box-office top 10.

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