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''Collateral Damage'' tops the box office

”Collateral Damage” tops the box office. ”Big Fat Liar” and ”Rollerball” round out the top three

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Arnold Schwarzenegger, Collateral Damage

Say it all together now: He’s back.

Almost five years after he last had a No. 1 movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to the head of the box office with ”Collateral Damage.” The terrorism drama, which was originally supposed to open last October but was delayed after September’s World Trade Center attacks, finally premiered with $15.2 million, enough to claim the top spot.

Granted, ”Damage’s” opening doesn’t come anywhere close to the $30 million and $40 million debuts of Arnold’s past (like ”Terminator 2: Judgment Day” or ”Batman and Robin”), but it did beat his last movie, 2000’s flop ”The 6th Day,” which opened with only $13 million and petered out with just $35 million in all. The next few weeks will determine whether ”Collateral Damage” will break his so-so streak or be merely a one-weekend wonder.

Not too far behind in second place was the comedy ”Big Fat Liar,” starring ”Malcolm in the Middle” fave Frankie Muniz. Despite largely mediocre reviews, the film took in $11.7 million to claim second place. ”Liar” was actually No. 3 after Friday, but increased family business during the day Saturday and Sunday moved it up a notch.

As for the film displaced by Frankie? That would be the remake of ”Rollerball,” which couldn’t overcome its bad buzz, grossing only $9 million in its first weekend. It’s not as if audiences weren’t aware of the film, which was even re-edited for a teen-friendly PG-13 rating — stars Chris Klein, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, and L.L. Cool J were everywhere promoting it. Apparently more kids were interested in sneaking into Schwarzenegger’s flick instead.

Rounding out the top five, as expected, were ”Black Hawk Down,” which brought in another $8 million, and ”Snow Dogs,” which grossed $6.7 million, bringing its total to almost $60 million. Finally, a movie that’s shown flop-magnet Cuba Gooding Jr. the money once again.

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