The 20th Century Fox release became the first 2003 film to repeat as winner of the box office as it lifted its 10-day total to $70.3 million. New Line's "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" was the last repeat winner as it topped the slate for three straight weekends starting with the Dec. 20-22 period.
"Daredevil" lost 53 percent of its audience from the opening Friday-Sunday. "It still is a respectable number for a movie in its second weekend," noted industry analyst Arthur Rockwell of Rockwell Capital Management.
DreamWorks' campus comedy "Old School," starring Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell and Luke Wilson, performed in line with expectations in second place with $17.5 million at 2,689 theaters. "It looks as if 'Old School' was able to hit its target audience of young male adults and teenagers," Rockwell said.
"Old School" generated the top per-location average with $6,507 while "Daredevil" posted a solid $5,447.
Paramount's third weekend of "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" continued to post solid numbers with $11.9 million at 2,923 sites as the romantic comedy declined by 36 percent from its second weekend. "Guy" has taken in nearly $65 million in 17 days and should continue to benefit from the lack of competition in the marketplace for female customers.
Disney's second weekend of "The Jungle Book 2" followed in fourth with $8.6 million at 2,815 theaters, edging out Miramax's ninth weekend of "Chicago" with $8.5 million at 2,355 sites as the latter remained a powerful performer in the wake of its 13 Academy Award nominations. "Everyone is expecting 'Chicago' will win a lot of Oscars and that should keep its numbers strong," Rockwell added.
Universal's opening of mystery-thriller "The Life of David Gale," starring Kevin Spacey as a death penalty opponent, generated lukewarm interest in sixth place with $7.2 million at 2,002 locations, followed by Disney's third weekend of "Shanghai Knights" with $6.4 million at 2,536 theaters.
Warner Bros.' opening of Civil War epic "Gods and Generals" placed eighth with $4.8 million at 1,533 sites. Expectations had been dampened for "Gods," produced by Ted Turner's production company, due to mixed reviews and its three-hours-plus running time.
MGM's opening of police thriller "Dark Blue," starring Kurt Russell and Ving Rhames as LAPD officers during the 1992 civil unrest, finished an unimpressive ninth with $3.8 million at 2,176 sites. Disney's fourth weekend of "The Recruit" rounded out the top 10 with $3.5 million at 1,678 theaters,
New Line's fourth weekend of "Final Destination 2" landed in 11th with $2.9 million at 1,518 screens, followed by Paramount's ninth weekend of "The Hours" with $2.4 million at 1,010 theaters.
Overall business was respectable with the top 10 taking in $91 million, or about $14 million more than the same weekend last year, when "Queen of the Damned" led with $14.8 million.
On the arthouse circuit, Artisan's "Amandla" grossed $14,000 from one theater and Paramount Classics' "Till Human Voices Wake Up" took in $7,700 at five theaters.
"Daredevil" and "Old School" will see competition next weekend when Warner opens crime thriller "Cradle 2 the Grave," starring Jet Li and DMX.