The weekend's only other wide release Big Trouble was a troubled eighth with $3.7 million.
With no $30 million-plus openings, key films -- those grossing $500,000 or more -- did well, but fell short of the spectacular totals they'd achieved over the past three weeks. This weekend's $107.8 million total was down 14.5 percent from the prior weekend's $126 million. It was, however, up 19.6 percent from last year's $90.2 million.
THE TOP TEN
Columbia's R rated thriller Panic Room held on to the top spot in its second week with a still thrilling ESTIMATED $18.5 million (-38%) at 3,053 theaters (theater count unchanged; $6,060 per theater). Its cume is approximately $58.8 million, heading for $100 million in domestic theaters.
Panic is only the third film this year to enjoy a second week in first place. The others were New Line's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which had two weeks atop the chart, and Revolution Studios and Columbia's Black Hawk Down, which reigned for three weeks.
Panic's average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide release this weekend.
"We're down only 38 percent, which certainly in today's world of 3,000 run openings is about as good as it's been in a while," Sony Pictures Entertainment worldwide marketing & distribution president Jeff Blake said Sunday morning.
Asked where it's going, Blake replied, "I've got to admit, with this kind of great holding second week we're very optimistic that we just might make $100 million. That would certainly be a very exciting result on a $48 million negative picture -- which looks like it has great worldwide possibilities, as well."
Why is Panic doing so well? "We got a really nice adult bump on Saturday," Blake explained. "We were down only 26 percent and up 38 percent from Friday. That indicated, as we hoped, that this picture is really going to get widespread adult support. It is a great adult evening out, which certainly helps give a picture legs. Adults, as we all know, are a little harder to get and, perhaps, don't rush out the first weekend as much as you'd like.
"We are happy with the result that we are appealing young and old. We got the young audience we needed to open the movie to $30 million, but it looks like the adults are coming through to keep it holding."
Business, in general, continues to be strong. "Buoyant," Blake observed. "You've got four double digit films on top of the standings. There's no question about it, it's a great market and we're happy to be on top of it."
The strong March and early April box office should help generate interest in this summer's films, whose trailers are playing in theaters now. "Attached on Panic Room is the Jennifer Lopez thriller Enough, which opens May 24," Blake said. "There's no question about (that helping), just as Panic Room was attached to Black Hawk Down. We tend to get a little determined about (playing) trailers. There's no better way to get a company on a roll and keep them there and that's certainly what we hope to be on this year."
20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises' PG-13 rated thriller High Crimes arrived in second place to an arresting ESTIMATED $15.02 million at 2,717 theaters ($5,526 per theater).
"We were hoping for $15 million," Fox distribution president Bruce Snyder said Sunday. "It's right where we'd like to be."
Asked who the film's audience was, Snyder replied, "58 percent female, 65 percent over 30. Adult female."
20th Century Fox's PG rated animated feature Ice Age fell one rung to third place in its fourth week with a still enviable ESTIMATED $14.32 million (-21%) at 3,200 theaters (-133 theaters; $4,473 per theater). Its cume is approximately $141.4 million, heading for $175 million in domestic theaters.
"Audiences love it ," Fox's Bruce Snyder said. "It seems to withstand (competition as other) family movies have come in behind it and Rookie being a pretty strong movie, also. But, at the end of the day, they just like Ice Age. The characters are great. It's fun."
Buena Vista/Disney's G rated family appeal baseball drama The Rookie slid one slot to fourth place in its second week, holding very well with an ESTIMATED $11.7 million (-26%) at 2,524 theaters (+13 theaters; $4,647 per theater). Its cume is approximately $35.0 million.
Artisan Entertainment's opening of its R rated youth appeal comedy National Lampoon's Van Wilder was celebrating in fifth place with an ESTIMATED $7.5 million at 2,022 theaters ($3,710 per theater).
"It's a very solid opening. We're very happy with it," Artisan domestic theatrical distribution president Steve Rothenberg said Sunday morning. "We did exit polls and it appears that people really liked the movie. It's a very funny comedy and we're very happy with the way the film opened.
"In the Top Two boxes we have 78 percent excellent and very good (which) is definitely above the norms. As far as definite recommend, we were at 70 percent and the norm is 45 percent. So we were above the norms on definite recommend, as well. That leads us to believe that we should have good word of mouth going into next week."
As for demographics, "it's about a 60-40 split male to female," Rothenberg said. "And the audience was almost entirely made up of 18-to-34 year olds, which is not surprising."
Paramount and Nickelodeon Movies' PG rated time travel adventure Clockstoppers dropped one peg to sixth place in its second week, showing good legs with an ESTIMATED $7.3 million (-28%) at 2,563 theaters (+23 theaters; $2,848 per theater). Its cume is approximately $22.5 million, heading for $40 million in domestic theaters.
"A very nice hold, actually, coming off the Good Friday holiday last week (when many schools were closed)," Paramount distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning. "We took a big hit on Friday, but Saturday and Sunday held up very well. Pictures of this genre have an extended life. You can play the matinees and weekends -- like Jimmy Neutron, it's still in a number of theaters playing matinees. We could be looking at $40 million on (Clockstoppers), I think, over its lifetime."
New Line Cinema's R rated vampire thriller Blade 2 fell three rungs to seventh place in its third week with a less scary ESTIMATED $7.18 million (-45%) at 2,561 theaters (-146 theaters; $2,802 per theater). Its cume is approximately $67.1 million, heading for $75 million in domestic theaters.
Buena Vista/Touchstone's PG-13 rated comedy Big Trouble opened in eighth place to a troublesome ESTIMATED $3.7 million at 1,961 theaters ($1,865 per theater).
Universal's 20th year anniversary reissue of its PG rated sci-fi fantasy drama E.T. fell three pegs to ninth place with a dull ESTIMATED $3.31 million (-46%) at 2,472 theaters (-535 theaters; $1,340 per theater). Its reissue cume is approximately $30.5 million.
Rounding out the Top Ten was Universal, DreamWorks and Imagine Entertainment's PG-13 rated drama A Beautiful Mind--winner of four Oscars, including best picture -- down two notches in its 16th week with an okay ESTIMATED $2.76 million (-29%) at 1,451 theaters (-109 theaters; $1,905 per theater). Its cume is approximately $165.2 million.
This weekend also saw the arrival via Warner Bros. of The Saul Zaentz Company's Amadeus: Director's Cut reissue with an encouraging ESTIMATED $93,000 at 18 theaters ($5,152 per theater).
Sony Pictures Classics' R rated comedy Crush opened to a hopeful ESTIMATED $47,000 at 10 theaters ($4,697 per theater).
United Artists' reissue of The Last Waltz kicked off via MGM on the right foot at one theater in San Francisco with an ESTIMATED $16,000.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, Waltz is a musical documentary about the final concert of The Band. Waltz waltzes into theaters in New York and Los Angeles Friday (Apr. 12).
Paramount and Miramax's PG-13 rated comedy Lucky Break arrived to an unlucky ESTIMATED $8,000 at 6 theaters ($1,338 per theater).
There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
On the expansion front this weekend Lions Gate Films' R rated drama Monster's Ball went wider in its 15th week following Halle Berry's best actress Oscar victory with an okay ESTIMATED $1.56 million at 713 theaters (+37 theaters; $2,185 per theater). Its cume is approximately $25.3 million.
IFC Films' unrated erotic drama Y Tu Mama Tambien went wider in its fourth week with a still arousing ESTIMATED $1.1 million at 179 theaters (+128 theaters; $6,145 per theater). Its cume is approximately $2.9 million.
Fox Searchlight Pictures' R rated romantic comedy Kissing Jessica Stein expanded in its fourth week to a still tempting ESTIMATED $1.01 million (+40%) at 319 theaters (+188 theaters; $3,150 per theater). Its cume is approximately $3.3 million.
"Jessica's done well," Fox Searchlight distribution president Stephen Gilula said Sunday morning. "We had a nice fourth weekend. We expanded to 319 theaters this week. We were pretty much across the country. It's a very successful limited release for us and we expect to be playing for quite a few more weeks because particularly in the cities that we've been open in for four weeks -- New York and L.A. and Chicago and Boston and so forth -- it's held extremely well.
"It's playing very, very well. The recent markets have opened up not as proportionally strong, but very solid. So we're very pleased with how it's playing across the country."
Asked where it's heading, Gilula replied that while it's still early to say for sure, "I think that we are certainly going to get to $6-or-$7 million, but each week tells us a little more of the story. We expect to be playing through the spring."
USA Films' R rated romantic comedy Monsoon Wedding added theaters in its seventh week with a still tasteful ESTIMATED $0.72 million (-10%) at 150 theaters (+10 theaters; $4,765 per theater). Its cume is approximately $5.3 million.
Universal's international division reported Sunday morning that E.T. opened in 28 countries last weekend and has grossed $12 million to date.
The studio said E.T. is performing very well in Latin America, especially in Mexico where it ranked third in its second weekend. While results from Europe were mixed last weekend, midweek grosses there were strong thanks to school holidays.
E.T. arrives in Asia this week. It opens in Japan April 27.
Ali G Inda House, Universal's latest film from Working Title, is performing solidly in the U.K., grossing $11.3 million in 16 days on 394 playdates.
A Beautiful Mind, a Universal DreamWorks co-production that is being distributed by UIP for DreamWorks, got a big boost from winning four Oscars including Best Picture and has been up at the box office for the past two weeks.
Mind, which has been in release internationally for seven weeks, is still number one in Argentina. This weekend it ranked second in Brazil, third in Australia and Germany, fourth in Spain, fifth in Mexico and seventh in the U.K.
This weekend, Mind cracks $100 million at the international box office.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 -- took in approximately $107.8 million, up about 19.57 percent from last year when they totaled $90.15 million.
Key films this weekend were down about 14.45 percent from the previous weekend of this year's total of $126.0 million.
Last year, Dimension Films' second week of Spy Kids was first with $17.08 million at 3,133 theaters ($5,451 per theater); and Paramount's opening week of Along Came A Spider was second with $16.71 million at 2,530 theaters ($6,606 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $33.8 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $33.5 million.