Whether it's a true romance or just a rumor spun dizzyingly out of control, the alleged relationship between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie helped rake in box-office gold for their joint project, "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," which debuted this week as the #1 movie in the country.
Despite largely lukewarm reviews from critics, the thriller that stars Pitt and Jolie (or Brangelina, as they've been labeled in tabloids) as married assassins bowed at #1 on the box-office top 10 with more than $51 million, according to early estimates. Moviegoers might have been hoping to catch a glimpse of real-life chemistry between the alleged couple, portraying a married pair of hired assassins who keep their careers hidden from one another until they are both given a new assignment — to kill each other (see "Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie Discuss Long-Harbored Fantasies ").
The three-day pull for "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" was a career best for Pitt, Jolie and director Doug Liman, according to The Associated Press.
Reigning box-office heavy-hitters held court over the upper half of the list. "Madagascar" continued to pogo its way around the top three, dropping from #1 to the #2 spot this week. The animated film about a group of zoo animals who escape to search for a missing friend only to find themselves stranded on the shores of Madagascar pulled in $17.1 million.
"Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" stuck it out at the #3 spot for the second week in a row. The last installment in the trio of "Star Wars" prequels helps answer lingering questions from the original three films, most notably those about Anakin Skywalker's turn to the dark side (see "Hayden Christensen Says Donning Mask Of Ultimate Evil For 'Sith' Was 'So Cool' "). In its fourth week in theaters, "Episode III" pulled in more than $14.8 million.
Adam Sandler's latest flick, "The Longest Yard," fumbled a bit this week, dropping two notches from #2 to #4. The football/prison movie that also features Chris Rock, Burt Reynolds and Nelly earned $13.5 million in its third week in theaters (see "Nelly's Hollywood Offensive").
The family-friendly action/adventure movie "The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D" bowed at #5 this week. The film, which stars David Arquette and "Sex and the City" veteran Kristin Davis, may have suffered at the box office as a result of poor reviews from critics (many bemoan the shoddy 3-D effects). "Sharkboy," which pulled in $12.5 million, centers on a 10-year-old outcast named Max, who escapes into daydreams until his imaginary superheroes come to life.
"Cinderella Man" (both the film and its star) had a rough week. After just two weeks in theaters, the boxing film took a tough hit, dropping from the #4 to the #6 spot on the box-office top 10, earning more than $9.5 million, while star Russell Crowe dealt his own tough blow to a hotel employee, earning a stint behind bars.
Rounding out this week's top 10 are "The Honeymooners," which bowed at #7 with $5.8 million; "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," which fell from #5 to #8 with more than $5.6 million; "Monster-in-Law," which dropped from #6 to #9 with more than $2.6 million; and "Crash," which slid from #8 to #10 with $1.9 million.
Overall, ticket sales were down from the corresponding weekend last year.
Next week, look for "Batman Begins" and "The Perfect Man" to debut on the box-office top 10. Also opening is "The Deal," starring Selma Blair and Christian Slater.
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