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''MIB2'' alienates the competition

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Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, ...
Men in Black 2: Melinda Sue Gordon

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones staved off two other Men in Black — ”Road to Perdition” mobsters Tom Hanks and Paul Newman — to stay at the top of the box office heap this weekend.

Smith and Jones’ ”Men in Black II” grossed another $25 million in its second weekend, according to studio estimates, bringing its 12-day total to $133.3 million. While a strong figure, it’s actually lower than the $139 million the first ”Men in Black” raked in during its first 12 days. Still, ”MIBII”’s 52 percent drop was expected, and the sequel will have no trouble crossing the $200 million mark in the weeks to come.

”MIBII” also faced some tough competition this weekend, mostly from Hanks and Newman, whose mob drama ”Road to Perdition” premiered with an impressive $22.1 million. Buoyed by the stars’ dual star power and glowing reviews touting the film as the first bona fide Oscar contender of the year, the film came within three million of ”MIBII” despite playing in only half the theaters.

”Road” was also able to open better than the action flick ”Reign of Fire,” which debuted in third place with $16 million. The dragon-slayer movie, starring Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale, obviously attracted the young male action audience with its f/x heavy visuals, though ”Reign” is also said to appeal to older moviegoers looking for something on the campy side.

Another new entry, the horror flick ”Halloween: Resurrection,” opened well with $12.3 million. Overcoming hideous reviews, this latest chapter in the Michael Myers saga also had a built-in audience thanks to Myers fans and supporters of star Busta Rhymes. The last debut of the week, ”Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course,” finished just outside the top five with $10 million. (Adam Sandler’s ”Mr. Deeds” snuck in at No. 5 in its third week with $11 million.) Still, both ”Halloween” and ”Crocodile” were roughly able to recoup their small budgets in their opening weekends. In other words, ”Halloween 9” and ”Crocodile Hunter 2” may not be far off.

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