An Epic Weekend at the Box Office!

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The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Be sure to check back on Monday for final figures based on actual box office.

After five weeks of Night at the Museum and Stomp the Yard dominating the top of the charts, it was time for some new blood in the form of four new movies, two of which knocked out the consistent chart-toppers.

20th Century Fox’s comedy Epic Movie, which spoofed many of the biggest blockbusters of the last few years, brought in an estimated $19.2 million in its opening weekend, doing just slightly more business in its debut than the studio’s 2006 spoof offering, Date Movie.

Pulling in a strong second place, Joe Carnahan’s crime-drama Smokin’ Aces, starring Jeremy Piven, Ryan Reynolds and many others, grossed $14.3 million in its debut weekend in 600 fewer theatres than Epic Movie, averaging just slightly less per theatre.

Knocked out of its place in the Top 2, Ben Stiller’s Night at the Museum still grossed an impressive $9.4 million over the weekend to bring its total to $216.7 million.

Jennifer Garner returned after two years with the romantic comedy Catch and Release, written and directed by Erin Brockovich‘s Susannah Grant and co-starring Kevin Smith, which opened in fourth place with an estimated $8 million.

Screen Gems’ Stomp the Yard dropped from #1 to #5 in its third weekend as it crossed the $50 million mark with an additional $7.8 million.

Despite being snubbed by the Academy for a Best Picture nomination, Paramount/DreamWorks’ musical Dreamgirls, starring Oscar nominees Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson, added another 600 theatres and had a negligible drop of 17% from last weekend. Its three-day gross of $6.6 million brought its total to $86.6 million.

On Tuesday, Will Smith was nominated for his 2nd Oscar nomination for The Pursuit of Happyness, and over the weekend, it grossed $5 million for seventh place, having grossed nearly $153 million in seven weeks.

Two foreign films which each received 6 Oscar nominations earlier this week–Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and Stephen Frears’ The Queen— both added roughly 200 theatres and maintained their places in the Top 10 with $4.5 million and $4 million, respectively. The Queen crossed the $40 million mark over the weekend, while Del Toro’s adult fairy tale has grossed $16.2 million to date.

After a lousy opening, Rogue Pictures’ horror remake The Hitcher was hit hard by the plethora of new movies and Oscar nominees, dropping 54% in its second weekend to put it at #10 with $3.6 million and a total of $13.4 million.

It came out just slightly ahead of Hilary Swank’s classroom drama Freedom Writers which made $3.5 million in its 4th weekend, having grossed $31.3 million to date.

The Top 12 was rounded out by a returning champ, that being Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, which was re-released by Warner Bros. into over 1,400 theatres to take advantage of its own Oscar nominations. It grossed an additional $3 million mere weeks before its DVD debut, having earned nearly $125 million theatrically since opening in early October.

Paramount Vantage’s Babel, another multiple Oscar nominee, remained at #13 adding an additional $2.6 million to bring its total to $27.2 million.

Opening far outside the Top 10, MGM’s werewolf thriller Blood and Chocolate, starring Agnes Bruckner, failed to find much of an audience, grossing $2.1 million in 1,200 theatres, a pitiful average of $1,752 per theatre.

In limited release, the Samuel Goldwyn Pictures Western Seraphim Falls, starring Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan, grossed just $162 thousand in 52 theatres over the weekend.

Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.