HOLLYWOOD, April 14 (UPI) -- The opening of "Changing Lanes" easily topped a moderate weekend at the nation's box office with an estimated $17.6 million at 2,613 theaters during the Friday-Sunday period, studio sources said Sunday.
Paramount's "Lanes," starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson in a tale of revenge following a traffic accident, performed in line with expectations as it opened amid generally upbeat reviews. The studio said the movie drew about 70 percent of its audience from patrons older than 25.
Sony's third weekend of "Panic Room," which had topped the chart in its first two sessions, was a distant but respectable second with $11.3 million at 3,119 theaters. "Panic Room," which declined 32 percent from its second weekend, has grossed $74.1 million in 17 days and will likely remain a significant draw for several more weeks.
Sony's romantic comedy "The Sweetest Thing" opened in third with $10 million at 2,670 theaters amid mixed reviews. The film benefited from the drawing power of star Cameron Diaz and the absence of similar titles from the marketplace in recent weeks.
With the top three films taking in a combined $39 million, the weekend total for the top 10 was a relatively mild $81 million. That was about $10 million ahead of the same weekend last year when "Spy Kids" led with $12.5 million and about $8 million behind last weekend.
Year-to-date box office has topped $2.3 billion, 16 percent ahead of the total at the same time last year. The 2002 pace should remain solid with two potential block-busters coming soon as Universal opens "The Scorpion King" next weekend and Sony rolls out "Spider-Man" on May 3. Warner Bros.' opening of thriller "Murder by Numbers," with Sandra Bullock, should also generate respectable numbers next weekend.
Fox's fifth weekend of animated comedy "Ice Age" came in fourth with $8.7 million at 3,011 theaters. "Age" dropped 36 percent from its fourth weekend and has now taken in $151.7 overall, placing it at 91st on the all-time domestic grosser list behind "Runaway Bride."
Disney's third weekend of "The Rookie" finished in fifth with $8.1 million at 2,520 theaters as the baseball drama held up well and lost only 31 percent from its second weekend. It has topped $45 million overall.
20th Century Fox's High Crimes followed in sixth with $8 million at 2,747 sites as the courtroom drama lost 43 percent from its opening.
Paramount's third weekend of "Clockstoppers" came in a distant seventh with $4.8 million at 2,512 theaters. That was followed by a tie for eighth at $4.2 million each by Lions Gate's unimpressive opening of "Frailty," a horror story starring Matthew MacConaughey and Bill Paxton, at 1,497 locations and Artisan's second weekend of "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" at 2,104 sites.
New Line's fourth weekend of "Blade 2" finished 10th with $4.1 million at 2,174 theaters to lift its 24-day total to nearly $74 million.
Universal's fourth weekend of its 20th anniversary reissue of "E.T. -- The Extra-Terrestrial" grossed $1.5 million to lift its total to $32.9 million. That was enough to push its overall total to $432.7 million, passing "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" for third place on the all-time domestic list.