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Aaliyah is ''Queen'' of the box office

Aaliyah is ”Queen” of the box office. Kevin Costner’s ”Dragonfly” flits to No. 3

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Aaliyah, Queen of the Damned

All she wants is to rule the multiplexes. That’s what Aaliyah did this weekend, as her vampire opus ”Queen of the Damned” opened at No. 1, earning an estimated $15.1 million for the weekend.

The film overcame a number of obstacles, including the bared fangs of movie critics and the difficulty for Warner Bros. of tastefully marketing a campy horror movie whose star died unexpectedly just six months ago. Still, the Anne Rice adaptation succeeded in drawing a heavily young and female audience (women under 25 made up a third of the viewers, the studio said) to stake a claim for the chart’s top spot.

”Queen” displaced last week’s No. 1, Denzel Washington’s ”John Q.” Still, the hospital/hostage drama showed a lot of heart (and legs), slipping just 38 percent for a second-place finish of $12.5 million, for a total of $39.9 million in its first 10 days of release.

This week’s other new death-obsessed drama, Kevin Costner’s ”Dragonfly,” flew no higher than No. 3, with $10.4 million. ”Return to Never Land,” Disney’s ”Peter Pan” sequel, remained aloft, alighting at No. 4 with $9 million, down less than a quarter from its debut last week. However, all the young women must have been watching Aaliyah’s movie this weekend, since Britney Spears’ ”Crossroads” dropped three spots to No. 5, with a $7.1 million take that was less than half what it earned during last weekend’s debut.

Rounding out the top 10 were ”Big Fat Liar” (No. 6), ”A Beautiful Mind” (No. 7), ”Hart’s War” (No. 8), ”Super Troopers (No. 9), and ”Collateral Damage” (No. 10). Watch for a struggle next weekend, as Mel Gibson fights the Viet Cong in ”We Were Soldiers,” and Josh Hartnett fights his libido in ”40 Days and 40 Nights.”

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