There was something for just about everyone at the multiplex this weekend: demonic comic-book heroes, digital dogs, cartoon cows and gooey teen romance. But adrenaline and testosterone won the day as action films claimed the two top box-office spots.
In its debut week, "Hellboy" smashed to the top with an estimated $23.5 million. (Click for photos from "Hellboy.") Despite the cult-level source material and a lack of big-name stars, the comic-book remake — about a horned beast (Ron Perlman) spawned in the fires of hell who becomes an unlikely champion for good — edged out former wrestler the Rock. The buff actor strode into the #2 slot with "Walking Tall," his remake of the 1973 vigilante flick, which took in an estimated $15.3 million. (Click for photos from "Walking Tall.")
Last weekend's top dog, "Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed," slipped to #3 with $15.1 million, giving it a two-week total of $50 million. Scooby wasn't the only cartoon in the top 10, as the animated Disney movie "Home on the Range" — expected to be the venerable studio's last hand-drawn cartoon as it switches to all-digital animation — came in at #4 with $14 million. Just behind was Julia Stiles in the romance "The Prince & Me," which debuted with $10 million.
Though it dropped to #6, Mel Gibson's graphic depiction of the last hours of Christ's life continued to pack 'em in. "The Passion of the Christ" added another 200 theaters in anticipation of healthy Easter business, grossing $9.9 million to bring its total to date to $330.1 million. The movie's continuing strength at the box office pushed it past "Forrest Gump" into the #10 spot of the top-grossing domestic movies of all time.
Rounding out the top 10 are: "The Ladykillers" at #7 with $7 million; "Jersey Girl" at #8 with $5.1 million; "Dawn of the Dead" at #9 with $4.4 million; and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" at #10 with $3.6 million.
With five movies above the $10 million mark, overall box office receipts were up again from the same period last year, for the sixth straight week. The top 12 grossed $114.5 million, a 40 percent improvement from the same weekend a year ago.
Look for a lot of new faces on next week's chart as the combination of spring break and a slate of mass-market comedies is expected to shake things up. In addition to the historic epic "The Alamo," new competition will come from the princess story "Ella Enchanted," the Bruce Willis/Matthew Perry sequel "The Whole Ten Yards" and the Bow Wow caper "Johnson Family Vacation."