Zoinks! Though it didn’t perform anywhere near as well as its predecessor, ”Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed” claimed the top spot at the box office this weekend, grossing $30.7 million, according to studio estimates.
That’s 43 percent less than the $54.2 million ”Scooby Doo” earned two years ago. The first film was helped by its summer release date and an overall greater level of buzz. The sequel, which also stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr., didn’t seem to inspire as much interest as the first film. But with its built-in family audience, it still managed a relatively strong debut.
Second place went to Tom Hanks’ new comedy ”The Ladykillers” with $13 million, a comparatively low figure for a Hanks film. In fact, it’s the actor’s lowest debut since 1996’s ”That Thing You Do,” which premiered with $6.2 million. Unless word of mouth keeps the quirky comedy afloat, it could be the first film with Hanks in a leading role that doesn’t cross $100 million in a decade.
”The Passion of the Christ” held nicely, dropping 36 percent to $12.5 million, bringing its total up to $315 million. It’s now number 13 on the all-time top grossers list, ahead of ”The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”’s $314.8 million. But last week’s No. 1, ”Dawn of the Dead,” plummeted 61 percent to $10.3 million in its second weekend, following the typical pattern for a horror flick.
Rounding out the top five was ”Jersey Girl” starring Ben Affleck and (in a small role) Jennifer Lopez, which opened with $8.3 million. Not a strong debut by any stretch, but at least it’s already outperformed ”Gigli”’s entire domestic haul.