What might have been a tight battle for the top two box-office positions over the weekend turned into a rout as the monster-slaying behemoth "Van Helsing" slashed its way to the top.
The $150 million Hugh Jackman flick — in which the dandy Aussie goes up against Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein's monster — kicked off the summer blockbuster season with a bang, taking in $54.2 million, according to studio estimates. (The movie reportedly earned another $53 million overseas.)
Meanwhile, what looked like a sure thing for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen turned into something of a disappointment, as the teenage moguls opened in fourth place as their first grown-up feature, "New York Minute," grossed just $6.2 million. (Click for photos from "New York Minute.") They can surely blame those "Mean Girls" in second place. That flick about high school cattiness dropped a spot, but took in a healthy $14 million, giving the Tina Fey-penned movie a two-week total of $42 million. Denzel Washington also showed his continued strength, as his "Man on Fire" dropped a notch to #3 with $7.9 million, giving it a three-week total of $56 million.
Jennifer Garner's first big-screen starring role, the body-switch comedy "13 Going on 30," also held on, dropping two spots to #5 in its third week on $5.5 million in receipts.
Rounding out the top 10 are "Laws of Attraction" at #6 with $3.5 million; "Kill Bill Vol. 2" at #7 with $3 million; "Godsend" at #8 with $2.7 million; "Envy" at #9 with $2.6 million and "The Punisher" at #10 with $1.2 million.
Overall box-office receipts were down nearly $40 million from the same weekend last year, when "X2: X-Men United" lit up theaters with $85 million in ticket sales.
"Van Helsing" 's stay at the top looks to be short-lived, as next weekend brings the opening of another $150-million plus epic, "Troy." The sandals-and-skirts retelling of the Trojan War stars Brad Pitt as Achilles and "The Lord of the Rings" hunk Orlando Bloom as Paris. Also opening is the Jamie Foxx comedy "Breakin' All the Rules," about a guy who writes a best-seller on breaking up after being dumped by his fiancée; as well as the art-house movie "A Slipping-Down Life," starring Lili Taylor as a small-town woman who becomes fascinated by a musician (Guy Pearce).
Expanding into more theaters is "Super Size Me," a controversial documentary by Morgan Spurlock chronicling a month in his life during which he ate nothing but McDonald's food. That movie earned more than $500,000 in just 41 theaters over the weekend. Opening in limited release is indie director Jim Jarmusch's series of shorts, "Coffee and Cigarettes," shot over the past 15 years and featuring the Wu-Tang Clan's GZA and RZA, the White Stripes, Iggy Pop, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett and Steve Buscemi.