The second weekend of "Red Dragon" topped the nation's box office, easily besting a large group of new releases, with an estimated $17.6 million at 3,360 theaters during the Friday-Sunday period, studio sources said Sunday.
"Dragon" lost 52 percent of its opening weekend total, which had set a record for an October opening. The third installment of the Hannibal Lecter series of films, starring Anthony Hopkins, has taken in $63.2 million in its first 10 days.
"It's not surprising that 'Red Dragon' was able to stay out in front," said movie industry analyst Arthur Rockwell of Rockwell Capital Management. "None of the new films were perceived by audiences as being anything special so the holdover films generally did fairly well this weekend. So the weekend's overall business was respectable."
The top 10 films took in about $90 million, or $17 million more than the same weekend last year when "Training Day" led with $13.4 million. Year-to-date results have hit $6.9 billion and are about 12 percent ahead of last year at the same point.
Disney's third weekend of Reese Witherspoon's comedy "Sweet Home Alabama" turned in a solid performance in second place with $14.1 million at 3,313 sites to raise its 17-day total to $84.6 million. "Alabama" lost only 34 percent of its second-weekend total and should remain a strong draw for several more weeks.
Fox Searchlight's opening of romance "Brown Sugar," starring Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan, turned in the best numbers of new releases as it finished third with $11.1 million at 1,372 sites. "Sugar" scored by far the best per-location average among top 10 films with $8,053, well ahead of $5,139 for "Red Dragon."
20th Century Fox's opening of "The Transporter," a crime-action project that had been delayed a month, followed in fourth with a respectable $9.2 million at 2,572 theaters. That was enough to edge IFC's long-running hit, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," which took in $7.9 million at 2,016 sites.
"Wedding" lost only 4 percent of its take from the previous weekend and has totalled $158.4 million after six months in theaters. It ranks as the 87th highest domestic grosser after "The Sting."
DreamWorks' third weekend of "The Tuxedo" came in sixth with $7 million at 2,985 theaters as it dropped only 30 percent from its second weekend. It easily topped Warner Bros.' opening of drama "White Oleander," starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Renee Zellweger, Robin Wright Penn and Alison Lohman, with $5.7 million at 1,510 sites.
Disney's family fantasy "Tuck Everlasting," starring Sissy Spacek and William Hurt, followed in eighth with $5.5 million at 1,185 theaters, edging New Line's crime thriller "Knockaround Guys," which has been delayed for over a year, with $5 million at 1,806 screens.
MGM's fifth weekend of "Barbershop" rounded out the top 10 with $4 million at 1,911 sites as it declined 40 percent. The ensemble comedy has gone past $65 million in a month.
Finishing a close 11th was Artisan's second weekend of "Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie" with $3.8 million at 1,174 theaters, followed by Lions Gate's disappointing opening of "The Rules of Attraction," based on Bret Easton Ellis' novel, with $2.4 million at 1,430 theaters.
On the art-house circuit, Sony's opening of Adam Sandler's romantic comedy "Punch-Drunk Love" opened impressively with $380,000 at five theaters in New York City. A pair of documentaries opened well with Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" taking in $206,000 at eight theaters for United Artists and Miramax's "Comedian," a look at Jerry Seinfeld, grossing $61,000 at four locations.
But Sony's remake of "Swept Away," starring Madonna, was dead on arrival with $375,000 at 196 theaters. Miramax's opening of animated "Pokemon 4Ever" sparked only moderate interest with $675,000 at 249 theaters and its thriller "Below" took in just $200,000 at 168 sites.
Paramount Classics' second weekend of "Bloody Sunday" took in $58,000 at 11 theaters.
Four wide releases are set to debut next weekend -- Warner's family adventure "Hansel and Gretel," Sony's action vehicle "Formula 51," DreamWorks' remake of Japanese horror film "The Ring" and Paramount's drama "Abandon."