'8 Mile' Goes The Distance With Record-Breaking Opening Weekend

Eminem's debut starring vehicle has an impressive $54.4 million opening weekend.

His third album's still sitting comfortably in the top 10, the "8 Mile" soundtrack debuted at #1 and now, the world's cockiest rapper has even more to smirk about. "8 Mile" took in $54.4 million at the box office over the weekend, according to studio estimates, making it the second largest opening for an R-rated picture of all time, and the highest debut for a first-time lead actor (Click for photos from the "8 Mile" premiere).

Eminem's semi-autobiographical "8 Mile" is also now the fifth-largest opening this year, the fifth-biggest November opening and #21 on the all-time list, sliding in right above "Scooby Doo." The Curtis Hanson-directed/Brian Grazer-produced picture is now Universal's fourth-largest opening,

behind the decidedly more family friendly "Jurassic Park" sequel "The Lost World," "The Mummy Returns" and "The Grinch."

Last week's #1 movie, "The Santa Clause 2" (see " 'Santa' Outruns Spies, 'Jackass' Slides, 'The Ring' Holds On"), was a distant second over the weekend, earning $24.8 million for a two-week $60.1 million total. Erotic thriller "Femme Fatale" (see "Rebecca Romijn-Stamos Overcomes

Fear Of Stripteases"), which opened two days before "8 Mile," landed at #9 with $2.8 million over the weekend for a $3.4 million overall total.

The rest of the weekend's top 10 includes "The Ring" at #3 with $16 million for a 4 week $86.1 million total; "I Spy" at #4, with the reportedly $70 million movie making $9 million ($24.6 million, two weeks); "Jackass: The Movie" at #5 with $7.2 million ($53.3 million, three weeks); "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" at #6 with $5.7 million ($192.7 million; 30 weeks); Reese Witherspoon's "Sweet Home Alabama" at #7 with $3.8 million ($118.6 million, seven weeks); "Ghost Ship" at #8 with $3.1 million ($26.1 million, three weeks) and "Punch Drunk Love" at #10 with $2.6 million ($14.6 million, five weeks).

Next week, "8 Mile" will go head-to-head with "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (see "Can 'Harry Potter' Stars Avoid Child Actor Doom?") the second film derived from the popular children's novels, and the Ja Rule/Steven Seagal match-up "Half Past Dead."