‘Stomp The Yard’ Runs Over ‘The Hitcher’ At The Box Office

Horror remake debuts behind dance film, 'Night at the Museum,' 'Dreamgirls.'

The Top Five

#1 “Stomp the Yard” ($13.3 million)
#2 “Night at the Museum” ($13 million)
#3 “Dreamgirls” ($8.7 million)
#4 “The Hitcher” ($8.2 million)
#5 “The Pursuit of Happyness” ($6.7 million)

For the second week in a row, the domestic box office got served, with “Stomp the Yard” claiming a narrow victory over “Night at the Museum” in the closest race of the new year. Ticket sales for the dance-propelled flick starring Chris Brown and Ne-Yo fell 40 percent from last weekend, but the film still had enough new moves to out-step the competition.

It was a week of seconds for Ben Stiller. In second place for the second straight week, “Night at the Museum” became Stiller’s second-highest-grossing movie of all time, passing both $200 million and “Madagascar” — but not “Meet the Fockers.” We just hope it doesn’t mean there’ll be a second “Night at the Museum,” having been turned off by jokes in the first one having to do with, that’s right, Number Two.

The weekend’s only new release was dead on arrival, as “The Hitcher” came in fourth place with a disappointing $8.2 million. Perhaps the film’s target audience couldn’t get rides to the theater?

Four films that didn’t need to stick out their thumbs for attention were “Dreamgirls,” “The Queen,” “Babel” and “Pan’s Labyrinth,” with the first three scoring prizes at last week’s Golden Globes (see “‘Dream’ Night: Jennifer Hudson, Borat Win Big At Golden Globes” ). “Dreamgirls” continued its climb up the charts, riding good reviews and three Globes to the third spot on the list. “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Queen” both made the top 10 with dramatic theater expansions, while “Babel” earned nearly $3 million in its 13th week, following a best-picture win at the Globes.

How’d We Do?

Josh is beginning to put some distance between himself and the rest of the field, winning for the second straight week by correctly picking “Stomp the Yard” (see “Projection Booth: Will ‘Hitcher’ Kill ‘Stomp’ At Box Office?” ).

By choosing “The Hitcher,” Larry and celebrity guest Kevin Smith no doubt thought it would be a modern horror classic — but the scariest thought of all might just be that our contest is beginning to look like a runaway.

Prognosticator (Weeks Won)
Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies Editor (7)
Larry Carroll, MTV News Writer (5)
Celebrity guests (1)

In Perspective

In its sixth week of release, the Will Smith vehicle “The Pursuit of Happyness” continued its impressive run with a top-five finish and nearly $7 million, bringing its domestic total to a hefty $146 million. And it’s never been #1. Will Smith may be the biggest star in Hollywood, but cracking the following list will take some work. Here are the top five highest-grossing movies to never hit #1:

#1 “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” ($241 million)
#2 “The Day After Tomorrow” ($186 million)
#3 “Dances With Wolves” ($184 million)
#4 “A Beautiful Mind” ($170 million)
#5 “Chicago” ($170 million)

Next Week

“Stomp the Yard” is likely to get stomped, with four new films opening in wide release next weekend. It’s a roll-out where everyone should find something they like: There’s the edgy Joe Carnahan-helmed mob flick “Smokin’ Aces,” the werewolf horror film “Blood and Chocolate,” the spoof “Epic Movie” and the saccharine “Catch and Release” starring Jennifer Garner and Kevin Smith.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Stomp the Yard”“Night at the Museum” and “Dreamgirls”.

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