''Shark Tale'' comes out on top for the third week. Despite new releases, ''Team America'' and ''Shall We Dance?,'' the animated fish story dropped only 30 percent

By Dave Karger
Updated October 16, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

The naughty puppets of Team America might have saved the world, but they couldn’t topple Shark Tale, as the computer-animated hit made it three weeks in a row at the top of the box office chart.

Shark Tale slipped only 30 percent in its third weekend to $22.1 million, according to studio estimates. After 17 days, its total is a strong $118.8 million. It doesn’t hurt that the family-friendly film is playing in almost 4,000 theaters, far more than any other film, but its week-to-week drops have been enviably low.

Holding onto second place was the football drama Friday Night Lights, which dropped 36 percent to $13.1 million, bringing its 10-day total to $38.7 million.

Team America: World Police, the political puppet comedy from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, placed third in its first weekend with $12.3 million, just a bit higher than the $11.3 million the South Park movie earned in its opening three days. Meanwhile, Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez’s romance Shall We Dance? premiered with a so-so $11.6 million, well short of Lopez’s $18.7 million record for 2002’s Maid in Manhattan. Interesting, though a major worldwide star, Lopez has never had a film open at more than $20 million.

Rounding out the top five was John Travolta’s Ladder 49 with $8.6 million in its third week. Can Shark Tale be the first film since The Return of the King to log four consecutive weeks at the top? Its competition next week includes Ben Affleck’s Surviving Christmas and Sarah Michelle Gellar’s The Grudge. It could happen.

Friday Night Lights (Movie)

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 117 minutes
  • Peter Berg