A veteran of wedding-themed films and real-life ceremonies, Jennifer Lopez easily drove her newest film, "Monster-in-Law," to the #1 spot at the box office this weekend.
The flick, which centers on the conflict between a woman and her son's new girlfriend, debuted at the top spot on the box-office top 10 with more than $24 million in ticket sales, according to early estimates. J. Lo stars as Charlie, a woman who finds the perfect man (Michael Vartan) after a series of duds, only to find out he comes with some seriously heavy baggage: a nightmare mother, played by Jane Fonda — who returns to the big screen after a 15-year hiatus (see "Slap Happy: Jennifer Lopez Takes Off The Gloves For 'Monster-In-Law' ").
New releases took over the top three spots on the top 10 this week as Will Ferrell's "Kicking & Screaming" bowed at #2 with more than $20.8 million.
The comedy features Ferrell as Phil Weston, the son of an over-competitive man (Robert Duvall), whose inherited aggressive gene is revealed when he decides to coach his 10-year-old son's soccer team (see "Will Ferrell Kicks And Screams His Way To Hollywood A-List Status"). In "Kicking & Screaming," Phil finds himself pitted squarely against his father, who is determined to coach another of the league's teams to victory.
In his new film, Jet Li may play a character with unparalleled fighting skills, but his battling talents weren't strong enough to overtake the combined force of J. Lo and Ferrell. Still, "Unleashed" opened strong at #3, earning more than $10.5 million. The action/adventure flick stars Li as Danny, a slave who earns money for his owner by becoming the champion fighter in gladiator-style fight clubs. After his owner enters a coma following a car accident, Danny is helped by a kind old piano tuner (Morgan Freeman) who supplies him with a broader education (see "'Unleashed' Unbeatable; 'Mondovino' A Matter Of Taste, By Kurt Loder ").
With three heavy-hitting new flicks claiming ownership over the top three spots this week, Orlando Bloom and his "Kingdom of Heaven" fought a losing battle for the #1 position, falling from #1 to #4, taking in more than $9.6 million. Set during the Crusades of the 12th century, the film stars Bloom as Balian, a blacksmith forced to assume the role of a fighter to help save his people from foreign invaders.
"Crash," which focuses on the chance meetings of police detectives, a storeowner, a locksmith, a pair of carjackers and a television director, dropped a notch from #4 to #5 this week with $7.2 million.
"House of Wax" suffered a more severe fall, moving from the #2 to the #6 spot this week. The horror film — starring Paris Hilton, Elisha Cuthbert and Chad Michael Murray as members of a group of friends who find themselves in danger of being killed and covered in hot wax — took in more than $6.2 million.
Rounding out this week's box-office top 10 are "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," falling four spots from #3 to #7 with more than $4.7 million; "The Interpreter," dropping from #5 to #8 with more than $4.3 million; "XXX: State of the Union," slipping from #6 to #9 with $2.2 million; and new release "Mindhunters," which debuts at #10 with more than $2 million.
Overall, ticket sales were down from the corresponding weekend last year.
Next week, look for "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" to debut on the box-office top 10.
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