Daredevil vanquished all comers to take the No. 1 spot for the second week in a row, soundly defeating its nearest competition, the laffer Old School. The frat comedy drew in a jovial $17.5 million, the heftiest take from this week's crop of newbies.
The death row drama The Life of David Gale premiered in sixth place with a grim $7.1 million, while the Civil War epic Gods and Generals debuted in the No. 8 position with $4.7 million. The gritty urban cop drama Dark Blue kicked off in ninth place with a shady $3.7 million.
Best Picture Oscar nominees Chicago and The Hours expanded marginally this week--as did their box office pickings. The musical Chicago landed in fifth place with $8.5 million, while the drama The Hours took in $2.4 million.
Meanwhile, the limited-release supernatural romance Till Human Voices Wake Us slept through the weekend with a drowsy $7,700.
THE TOP TEN
Twentieth Century Fox's PG-13 live-action comic book adaptation Daredevil went undefeated in its second week of release with an ESTIMATED $18.9 million (-53%) at 3,474 theaters (+3 theaters, $5,448 per theater). Its cume is approximately $70.3 million. The film could become the first movie this year to pass the $100 million mark.
DreamWork's R rated buddy comedy Old School debuted to a close second with an ESTIMATED $17.5 million at 2,689 theaters. Its $6,508 per theater average was the highest of this week's top 10 films.
The film revolves around three thirtysomething college buddies who decide to start their own off-campus fraternity in an attempt to recapture some of that old school magic.
In its third week of release, Paramount Pictures' PG-13 rated How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days dropped from second to third position with a still strong ESTIMATED $11.8 million (-37%) at 2923 theaters (unchanged), with an $4,063 per theater average. Its cume is approximately $64.9 million.
Buena Vista's G rated animated feature The Jungle Book 2 remained in fourth place in its second week, still roaring to an ESTIMATED $8.6 million (-25%) at 2,815 theaters (+7 theaters, $4,238 per theater). Its cume is approximately $25.1 million. Directed by Steven Trenbirth, it features the voices of Haley Joel Osment, John Goodman, Bob Joles and Tony Jay.
Miramax's PG-13 rated musical Chicago expanded again in its ninth week but dropped from third to fifth place with an ESTIMATED $8.5 million (-33%) at 2,355 theaters (+87 theaters, $3,609 per theater). Its cume is approximately $94.3 million.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
Universal's R rated drama The Life of David Gale premiered in sixth place with an ESTIMATED $7.1 million at 2,002 theaters ($3,580 per theater).
In the film, a philosophy professor who is vigorously opposed to the death penalty finds himself on death row when his associate in the advocacy group Death Watch is murdered.
Buena Vista's PG-13 rated buddy actioner Shanghai Knights fell from fifth to seventh place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $6.4 million (-42%) at 2526 theaters (-229 theaters, $2,534 per theater). Its cume is approximately $44.4 million.
Warner's PG-13 rated Civil War biopic Gods and Generals opened in eighth place with an ESTIMATED $4.7 million at 1,533 theaters ($$3,115 per theater).
The film is an epic portrayal charting the early years of the Civil War in early 1861 through 1863, climaxing with the famous Battle of Chancellorsville.
MGM's R rated police drama Dark Blue premiered in ninth place with an ESTIMATED $4.7 million in 2,176 theaters ($1,723 per theater).
The film revolves around a rookie LAPD cop who learns the grim realities of police intimidation and corruption in the week leading up to the verdict of the Rodney King trial and the subsequent riots.
Rounding out the top 10, Buena Vista's PG-13 CIA thriller The Recruit, dropped from sixth to tenth place in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $3.5 million (-46%) at 1,678 theaters (-658 theaters, $2,086per theater). Its cume is approximately $44.4 million.
Paramount Classics' R rated supernatural romance Till Human Voices Wake Us debuted in five theaters with an eerily real ESTIMATED $7,700, with an average $1,540 per theater.
In the film, a doctor is haunted by painful childhood memories when he returns home for his father's funeral.
The top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $96.2 million, down 22.26 percent from last week's President Day weekend when they totaled $123.7 million.
The top 12 were up 14.08 percent from last year when they totaled $84.5 million.
Last year, Warner's R rated Queen of the Damned debuted at the top of the box office with $14.7 million at 2,511 theaters ($5,877 per theater); New Line Cinema's PG-13 John Q came in second with $12.4 million at 2,505 theaters ($4,980 per theater); and Universal's PG-13 rated Dragonfly debuted in third with $10.2 million at 2,507 theaters ($4, 075 per theater).