‘National Treasure’ Loots Box Office Again, While ‘Alvin’ Scrambles Past Will Smith

Older releases easily crush debuts of 'Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem,' 'The Great Debaters.'

The Box-Office Top Five

#1 “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” ($55.4 million)
#2 “Alvin and the Chipmunks” ($42.2 million)
#3 “I Am Legend” ($38 million)
#4 “Charlie Wilson’s War” ($20.5 million)
#5 “Juno” ($15.7 million)

While partygoers across the globe rang in the New Year singing about forgetting auld acquaintances, moviegoers seemed to respond, “Hey, not so fast!” Over the five-day holiday weekend, the top four spots at the box office went to the same four movies as last week, with only “Alvin and the Chipmunks” and “I Am Legend” switching places.

Once again, the biggest treasure went to Ben Gates (Nic Cage) and the clue counters of “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” which brought in $55.4 million to bring its overall total to $143.8 million after just two weeks. Sure, a City of Gold is nice and all, but Cage’s film is an even better hoard: the rare sequel that can outperform the original. “Book of Secrets” should pass the first film’s $173 million gross sometime within the next few weeks.

In their third week of release, “Alvin and the Chipmunks” (in second place with $42.2 million) and “I Am Legend” (in third with $38 million) continued their remarkably strong runs. Both films are already among the top 12 moneymakers of 2007. With $205 million, “I Am Legend” should finish close to or in the top five.

“Charlie Wilson’s War,” starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, rebounded nicely after a somewhat disappointing opening, making $20.5 million in its second week. But the film that came in fifth place made the biggest impression: In fewer than 1,000 theaters, “Juno” earned $15.7 million. This is one doodle that can’t be undid — the teen-pregnancy flick is one of the biggest surprises of the year.

Among new releases (which actually opened on Christmas Day), “Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem” performed the best, scoring $13.8 million for a sixth-place finish, and Denzel Washington’s “The Great Debaters” earned $9.4 million for a 10th-place finish.

Upcoming Releases

Ring! Ring! Ed Burns says you’re dead in this coming week’s biggest new release, “One Missed Call,” a horror remake about people who receive a recording of their own death days before it really happens. Meanwhile, “Atonement” and “Juno” are both using the slow theater week to expand in anticipation of awards season.

Check out everything we’ve got on “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” “Alien vs. Predator: Requiem” and “Juno.”

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