Dave Karger's box office report: The computer-animated sequel, ''Ice Age 2,'' earned almost $25 million more than the original

The record for biggest-ever March opening was trounced this weekend by a high-profile sequel. And no, it wasn’t Basic Instinct 2.

The animated sequel Ice Age 2: The Meltdown premiered with a stunning $70.5 million, according to studio estimates. That not only topped the first Ice Age‘s $46 million opening-weekend tally but puts Ice Age 2 in the same stratosphere as computer-animated smashes The Incredibles ($70.5 million) and Finding Nemo ($70.3 million). The final numbers will determine whether Meltdown is able to freeze out The Incredibles to become the second-biggest animated opening ever (after Shrek 2).

Second place went to Spike Lee’s Inside Man, which dropped 46 percent in its second weekend to $15.7 million. After 10 days, the thriller starring Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster has grossed $52.8 million, making it Lee’s highest-grossing film to date.

ATL, the drama featuring hip-hop stars T.I. and Big Boi, debuted in third place with a decent $12.5 million, while Failure to Launch and V for Vendetta rounded out the top five with $6.6 million and $6.5 million, respectively. That means the weekend’s two other new wide releases opened weakly: The horror flick Slither scared up only $3.7 million for eighth place, and in the ultimate embarrassment, Basic Instinct 2 debuted with a horrible $3.2 million, despite Sharon Stone’s aggressive PR campaign on behalf of the film. Granted, the sequel is likely to perform better overseas, but it’s doubtful Stone thought she’d ever open a big film and tie with the second weekend of a film called Larry the Cable Guy.

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