‘Monster House,’ ‘Lady In The Water’ Can’t Throw ‘Pirates’ Overboard

'Dead Man's Chest' holds box-office #1 for third week.

A monster, a water nymph, two fast-food restaurant workers and a super-powered scorned woman waged attacks on a ship full of pirates — to no avail. Captain Jack Sparrow and his Black Pearl crew held tight to the box-office treasure for a third week.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” stuck to the #1 spot on the box-office top 10, earning more than $35 million its third weekend in theaters, according to early estimates. Despite an onslaught of new releases, “Pirates of the Caribbean” — which has already broken box-office records including highest-grossing first day and weekend, and is the year’s top earner — fended off the newcomers, raising its total box-office earnings to more than $321.7 million (see “For Depp, Bloom And Knightley, ‘Pirates’ Is The Treasure That Keeps On Giving”) .

The family flick “Monster House” came closest to toppling “Pirates,” earning $23 million and bowing at #2. Unlike scary movies where the villainous monster lives inside the haunted house, in this animated film the monster is the house. Nick Cannon, Jon Heder, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Steve Buscemi all lend their voices to the adventure (see “Nick Cannon Wants ‘Monster House’ To Be The Next ‘Goonies’ “ ).

M. Night Shyamalan’s fairy tale “Lady in the Water” bowed at #3 with more than $18.2 million. The film, which is based on a bedtime story the director used to tell his daughter, centers on Cleveland Heep, a building manager who finds a woman living in the complex’s swimming pool. Heep discovers that the woman is a mystical creature trying to make her way back to her world, while the building’s residents begin to believe she is there to change their lives.

“You, Me and Dupree” faced off with the newcomers and fell just one spot, from #3 to #4, with more than $12.7 million. Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon star in the film as Molly and Cole Peterson, a newly married couple excited to start their new life together — until Cole’s friend Randy Dupree (Owen Wilson) arrives to crash their party (see “Worst Houseguest Ever? Hudson, Dillon, Wilson Reveal Real-Life ‘Dupree’ Moments” ).

Also holding its own against the new releases was “Little Man,” which fell from #2 to #5 with $11 million. The comedy stars Shawn Wayans as a man who yearns to be a father — and gets that chance when a vertically challenged criminal (Marlon Wayans), shows up on his doorstep posing as a baby (see “Hi-Tech Visionaries? Nah — The Wayans Are ‘Just Trying To Tell Some Jokes, Man’ “ ).

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Bowing at #6 with more than $9.6 million is Kevin Smith’s latest, “Clerks II.” The comedy reunites fans of Smith’s low-budget, black-and-white debut with former convenience store and video-store workers Dante Hicks and Randal Graves. Ten years later, the pair of high-school buddies are working at a New Jersey fast-food joint and Dante is considering a move to Florida (see “Dante, Randal, Jay, Silent Bob Are Back In ‘Clerks II’ — But Does The Old Kevin Smith Fire Still Burn?” ). Rosario Dawson co-stars in the film, which features cameos by Smith veterans Jason Lee and Ben Affleck.

Rounding out this week’s box-office top 10 are “My Super Ex-Girlfriend,” which bowed at #7 with $8.7 million; “Superman Returns,” which dropped from #4 to #8 with more than $7.4 million; “The Devil Wears Prada,” which tumbled from #5 to #9 with more than $7.4 million; and “Cars” which also fell four spots, from #6 to #10 with more than $4.9 million.

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

Next week, look for “Miami Vice,” “Scoop,” “John Tucker Must Die” and “The Ant Bully” to debut on the box-office top 10.

See everything we’ve got on “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”, “Monster House”and “Lady in the Water”.

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