A series of fortunate events, and some big ticket sales, helped one grim children's movie debut at #1 in the box-office top 10.
"Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" bested the string of highly crafted heists in "Ocean's Twelve" by bowing at #1 with $30.2 million, according to early estimates.
A step away from the traditional feel-good Christmas movie, "A Series of Unfortunate Events" tells the story of three siblings orphaned after their parents die in a tragic fire. The children, who have been left a massive inheritance, are sent from relative to relative, all the while being followed by the evil Count Olaf (Jim Carrey) and his accomplices, who try to steal their fortune.
Another group of money-hungry people had some trouble holding on to their good fortune. "Ocean's Twelve," with a cast including Brad Pitt and George Clooney as leaders of a group of thieves attempting to pull off high-grade heists in three separate countries, dropped a notch from #1 to #2 with more than $18.2 million in ticket sales.
The romantic comedy "Spanglish," starring Adam Sandler and Téa Leoni, bowed at #3 this week. The story of a mother who emigrates to Los Angeles from Mexico with her daughter and is hired to work as a housekeeper for a peculiar and slightly dysfunctional family took in $9 million in its opening weekend.
After six weeks in theaters, "The Polar Express" is being temporarily held at the #4 station. The animated film about a boy who learns, on Christmas Eve, to believe in the magic of the holiday, spent its second week at #4 with more than $8.5 million.
They may be able to battle a nation of vampires, but the hunters of "Blade: Trinity" couldn't slay enough films on the box-office top 10 to maintain their film's #2 position. The action thriller dropped three spots to #5 with $6.6 million.
Another film beginning to drop is "National Treasure," which, after spending three weeks at #1, fell to #3 last week and further to #6 this week. The flick, about a descendant in a long line of treasure hunters searching for a fortune buried by the nation's Founding Fathers, took in more than $6.1 million in its fifth week in theaters.
Rounding out the top 10 this week are "Christmas With the Kranks," which drops two spots from #5 to #7 with $5.7 million; "Flight of the Phoenix," which debuts at #8 with more than $5.1 million; "Closer," which falls one spot from #8 to #9 with $3.5 million; and "The Incredibles," which tumbles from #6 to #10 with more than $3.2 million.
Overall, ticket sales were down slightly from the corresponding weekend last year.
Next week, look for "Meet the Fockers," "Fat Albert," "The Aviator" and "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou" to debut in the box-office top 10. Also opening in theaters are "Hotel Rwanda" and "The Phantom of the Opera."
Visit Movies on MTV.com for more from Hollywood, including news, interviews, trailers and more.