Number 23 is Number 2… at the Box Office

After one of the busiest Presidents’ Day weekends at the box office ever, things settled down despite the release of five new movies in wide release. Even so, Sony’s Ghost Rider, starring Nicolas Cage, was able to hold its place as the #1 movie at the box office for a second weekend with $19.7 million, despite taking a hard plunge from its record-setting opening. In ten days, it has grossed $78.6 million.

Offering the strongest competition, Jim Carrey reteamed with Joel Schmacher after Batman Forever for the psychological thriller The Number 23 which took in an estimated $15.1 million over the weekend, a so-so average of $5,500 per theatre, placing it in second.

As the only family film, Disney’s Bridge to Terabithia did decently in its second weekend, dropping to third with $13.6 million and bringing its total to $46.2 million.

Opening in just a few less theatres than Carrey’s movie, the Fox comedy Reno 911!: Miami based on the popular Comedy Central show, debuted with $10.4 million over the weekend, an average of $3,849 per theatre.

The next four places were taken up by returning movies, starting at #5 with DreamWorks/Paramount’s Norbit, starring Eddie Murphy, which neared $75 million with its weekend gross of $9.7 million, a 42% drop from the holiday weekend.

The Warner Bros. romantic comedy Music and Lyrics, starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, and Universal’s political thriller Breach held up well in their second weekends taking in $8 and $6.2 million, respectively. Music and Lyrics has grossed $32 million so far, while Breach is just over $20 million.

Dropping down three places to #8, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls was hit hard in its second weekend, dropping 53% while earning $5.2 million. Its total gross of $25.6 million is still below what Perry’s last movie made its opening weekend.

The Polish Brothers’ adventure-drama The Astronaut Farmer, starring Billy Bob Thornton, failed to find much of an audience, opening in 9th place with an estimated $4.5 million, while Michael Apted’s historic epic Amazing Grace brought in an impressive $4.3 million in a third as many theatres to close up the Top 10.

The Diane Keaton-Mandy Moore comedy Because I Said So wound up at #11 with $2.9 million, having grossed $38.4 million.

After Dark Films and Lionsgate teamed to release the horror film The Abandoned, which grossed only $817 thousand despite in nearly 1,000 theatres.

Opening in limited release in 15 theatres, the Yari Film Group’s Gray Matters, starring Heather Graham and Bridget Moynahan, didn’t do much better, making $28 thousand, an average of less than $2,000 per theatre.

The top ten movies at the box office grossed more than $96.3 million, just slightly higher than the last weekend in February in 2006.

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