Mark Wahlberg's metal fable gets swashbuckled
Mark Wahlberg, Rock Star

It was all for No. 1 and No. 1 for all as ”The Musketeer” surprised some analysts to claim the top spot at the box office this weekend. Trumping the Mark Wahlberg/Jennifer Aniston comedy ”Rock Star,” the swordfighting-meets-martial arts adventure grossed an estimated $10.7 million, easily winning the weekend.

”The Musketeer,” starring Justin Chambers, Tim Roth, Mena Suvari, and Catherine Deneuve, soared not on star power but on its youth-friendly PG-13 rating and its unique mix of European and Asian action styles. Critics may have wondered why another big-screen take on ”The Three Musketeers” was even necessary, but obviously audiences remain hungry for the tale. Still, ”The Musketeer”’s opening pales in comparison to Leonardo DiCaprio’s 1998 swashbuckler, ”The Man in the Iron Mask,” which debuted with $17.3 million.

Nabbing second place was the relationship comedy ”Two Can Play That Game,” starring Morris Chestnut and Vivica A. Fox, which premiered with $8.3 million. Though also savaged by most critics, the film proves yet again that the underserved African-American audience will support an urban comedy. Chestnut’s two recent comedies ”The Best Man” and ”The Brothers” both topped $10 million in their opening weekends.

The week’s other big opening, ”Rock Star,” lagged behind with only $6.2 million, much less than was anticipated (analysts had the heavy-metal fantasy earning between $10 and $15 million). But the film’s R rating suggests that it had trouble bringing in the all-important youth audience, most of which checked out ”The Musketeer” instead. ”Rock Star”’s poor debut is all the more embarrassing considering Wahlberg’s last film, ”Planet of the Apes,” opened with $68.5 million just two months ago.

Studio estimates have ”Rock Star” neck and neck with the weekend’s two horror draws: ”Jeepers Creepers,” which fell over 50 percent to approximately $6.2 million in its second weekend, and Nicole Kidman’s ”The Others,” still in the top five with $6.1 million. When final numbers are released, ”Rock Star” could end up as low as No. 5. Where are those primates when you need them?

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Jeepers Creepers
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