After months of Internet buzz, "Snakes on a Plane" finally hit theaters — and opened on top of the box-office heap. But despite the rush of pre-release hype, the movie came in just $1 million ahead of "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," according to early estimates.
Late-night screenings on Thursday provided the $1.4 million boost that helped "Snakes" reach its $15.2 million total — and earn the title of box-office champ. The thriller flick, which was the subject of Internet speculation and parodies long before it was released, stars Samuel L. Jackson as an FBI agent battling a slew of deadly snakes that have been unleashed on a red-eye flight to silence a witness in protective custody (see "Why Snakes, Why Planes? Samuel L. Jackson Dissects His Cold-Blooded Phenomenon").
"Snakes" delivered just enough of a bite to knock "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" out of the top spot. The film that stars Will Ferrell as NASCAR champ Ricky Bobby slips to #2 after earning $14.1 million in its third weekend in theaters (see "Ferrell's Shameless Nudity Overshadowed By Countless Plugs In 'Talladega' ").
"World Trade Center" held the #3 position for a second week, earning $10.8 million its second weekend in theaters. Nicolas Cage stars in the film as Port Authority Police Sergeant John McLoughlin, one of the last survivors of the September 11 terrorist attacks to be rescued from the wreckage (see " 'World Trade Center': An Enormous Tragedy Captured On A Small Scale").
Bowing at #4 is the college comedy "Accepted," which earned more than $10.1 million its first weekend out. The film centers on a high school senior (Justin Long) who applies to a ton of schools only to be rejected by each one. To keep his parents from finding out, he creates a fake university — the South Harmon Institute of Technology — and ends up with more fellow students than he bargained for (see "Best Buds Justin Long, Jonah Hill Work Comedy-Duo Schtick In 'Accepted' ").
|Flick'd: "Snakes In The Newsroom"
Vipers sink their teeth into MTV News' own crew; Samuel L. Jackson talks about asking to be in "Snakes on a Plane" and more.
"Step Up" takes three steps back its second weekend in theaters, falling from #2 to #5 with more than $9.8 million. The dance flick focuses on a troubled teen (Channing Tatum) forced to do community service at a performing-arts school and the privileged dancer (Jenna Dewan) who seeks out the rebel to be her dance partner.
"Barnyard: The Original Party Animals," an animated film that imagines what farm animals get up to when the farmer is away, slipped from #4 to #6 with more than $7.4 million. The family-friendly flick features the voices of Danny Glover, Kevin James, Courteney Cox and Wanda Sykes.
Rounding out this week's box-office top 10 are "Little Miss Sunshine," which drops in at #7 with more than $5.6 million after being expanded to additional screens; "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," which falls from #6 to #8 with more than $5 million; "Material Girls," which bows at #9 with more than #4.6 million; and "Pulse," which slides from #5 to #10 with more than $3.5 million.
Overall, ticket sales were down from the corresponding weekend last year.
Next week, look for "Idlewild," "Beerfest" and "Invincible" to debut on the box-office top 10.
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