''Hostel'' scares away the box office competition. The fright flick had tough competition from ''Narnia,'' but still managed to take the No. 1 spot
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Credit: Hostel: Rico Torres

It didn’t take a big-budgeted blockbuster to dethrone The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe from the No. 1 spot at the box office. Instead, it was a come-from-nowhere horror flick that did the job.

Hostel, the latest film from Eli Roth, director of the surprise hit Cabin Fever, premiered this weekend with a strong $20.1 million, according to studio estimates. The film, which lacked any A-list stars, drew young male fans thanks to its promise of frights and endorsement from Quentin Tarantino, who ”presented” the film.

Narnia, meanwhile, slipped to second place with another $15.4 million, bringing its total to a fantastic $247.6 million. This weekend, the family-friendly fantasy surpassed Tom Cruise’s War of the Worlds to become the No. 3 top grosser of 2005, behind only Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Third place went to King Kong, down 50 percent to $12.5 million. Its total now stands at $192.5 million, making it the No. 9 film of last year.

The rest of the top five went as expected, with Fun With Dick and Jane and Cheaper by the Dozen 2 placing fourth and fifth with $12.2 million and $8.3 million, respectively. In all, it was a surprisingly robust weekend for what is typically a dead zone at the movies.

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