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'Panic Room' tops US box office again

HOLLYWOOD, April 7 (UPI) -- The second weekend of Jodie Foster's "Panic Room" led the nation's box office with an estimated $18.5 million at 3,053 theaters during the Friday-Sunday period, studio sources said Sunday.

Sony's thriller, which set an Easter weekend record during its first three days, has now taken in close to $59 million overall as moviegoers have responded favorably to the tale of a mother and daughter outwitting home-invading villains. "Panic Room," which lost 38 percent of its opening weekend audience, is likely to be a solid performer for several more weeks.

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It was the first back-to-back victory for a movie since "Black Hawk Down" won the last two weekends of January and the first weekend of February. It marked the first weekend that the box office leader has not topped $20 million since "Queen of the Damned" opened with $14.8 million on the last weekend in February.

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"Panic Room" easily topped 20th Century Fox's opening of courtroom drama "High Crimes," which finished a solid second with $15 million at 2,717 theaters. The film, which was marketed to highlight the re-teaming of Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman from 1999's "Double Jeopardy," performed in line with expectations.

Fox's fourth weekend of animated comedy "Ice Age" followed closely in third with an impressive $14.3 million at 3,200 theaters. "Age" dropped only 21 percent from its third weekend and has now taken in $141.4 overall, making it the first major success of 2002 and placing it at 106th on the all-time domestic grosser list ahead of "A Few Good Men."

Disney's second weekend of "The Rookie" finished in fourth place with $11.7 million at 2,524 theaters as the baseball drama held up well and lost only 27 percent from its opening weekend.

With the top four films taking in nearly $60 million, the overall box office was solid but not spectacular as the top 10 totaled around $91 million. That was $16 million behind the top 10 total for the previous weekend, when "Panic Room" led with $30.1 million, but $15 million ahead of the same weekend a year ago when "Spy Kids" led with $17.1 million.

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Artisan's opening of campus comedy "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" finished a distant fifth with $7.5 million at 2,022 theaters as the film was able to draw its core audience of young adult males and teens. It edged Paramount's second weekend of "Clockstoppers" with $7.3 million at 2,536 sites as the fantasy-adventure dropped only 28 percent from its opening weekend.

New Line's third weekend of "Blade 2" finished a close seventh with $7.2 million at 2,561 sites as the sequel fell 45 percent. "Blade 2," which led the box office on its opening weekend with $32.5 million, has topped $67 million overall.

Disney's opening of its Tim Allen comedy "Big Trouble" stumbled to eighth place with only $3.7 million at 1,961 theaters. The project had been set for release last fall but was delayed after Sept. 11's terrorist attacks due partly to its jokes about smuggling a nuclear device past lax airport security.

Universal's third weekend of its revamped "E.T." finished ninth with $3.3 million at 2,472 theaters as the studio pulled the re-release from over 500 sites. The $30.5 million taken in by the new version has pulled the domestic total for "E.T. past $430 million overall, leaving it about $1 million behind "Star Wars: Episode 1 -- Phantom Menace" for third place on the all-time list after "Titanic" at $601 million and "Star Wars" at $461 million.

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Universal's "A beautiful Mind," winner of the Academy Award for best picture, continued to perform impressively in 10th with $2.8 million at 1,451 screens in its 16th weekend. "Mind" has totaled $165.2 million to make it the 72nd highest domestic grosser of all time ahead of "Hannibal."

"Panic Room" and "High Crimes" will see competition next weekend from openings of Paramount's thriller "Changing Lanes," with Ben Affleck and Samuel Jackson, Sony's romantic comedy "The Sweetest Thing" with Cameron Diaz and Lions Gate's horror project "Frailty."

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