LOS ANGELES – "Are We There Yet?" (search) earned $18.5 million to quickly arrive at first place in the weekend box office.
The road trip comedy starring rapper-actor Ice Cube (search) in its opening weekend sent "Coach Carter" back to the bench when the basketball drama brought in $11 million and slipped to second place, according to studio estimates released Sunday.
"Assault on Precinct 13," a remake of the 1976 "cult classic" about cops and criminals joining forces against a jail siege by gang members, took in $7 million in its first weekend and finished sixth in the box office tally.
Final figures were to be released Monday.
"Are We There Yet?" follows Cube as he embarks on a road trip with two manipulative children who he tolerates only because he is trying to woo their attractive divorced mother.
Showing in wide release at 2,709 theaters, "Are We There Yet?" averaged $6,829 a cinema.
"It's a total family picture," said Rory Bruer, president of distribution for Sony Pictures. "It's very funny and Ice Cube did a terrific job. He's just hysterical in it."
Cube, 35, next will be in "XXX: State of the Union," scheduled for release in April. The action film sequel also will feature Samuel L. Jackson (search), star of the sports tale "Coach Carter."
The PG rated comedy continued the trend of family films performing well at the box office, especially over the past six months, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.
"It's a very appealing genre. Families are always looking for entertainment, something that is suitable for the whole family," he said.
The comedy played well across demographics, with an audience breakdown of 43 percent white, 26 percent black and 18 Hispanic, Bruer said.
"Meet the Fockers," a PG-13 rated film, continued to do well and is marching toward becoming the highest grossing live-action comedy of all time. The in-law farce collected $10.2 million over the weekend to push its five week total to $247.7 million.
The blockbuster comedy moved into second place in the live-action comedy category behind record-holder "Home Alone," which earned $285.8 million. The God-comedy "Bruce Almighty" dropped to third place at $242.7 million.
The severe winter weather that swept across the Midwest and clobbered the Northeast kept many movie fans from the theaters, but the numbers remained slightly higher than the same weekend last year, Dergarabedian said.
Revenues from the top 12 movies were up 3.9 percent from last year.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.
1. "Are We There Yet?" $18.5 million.
2. "Coach Carter," $11 million.
3. "Meet the Fockers," $10.2 million.
4. "In Good Company," $8.5 million.
5. "Racing Stripes," $7.06 million.
6. "Assault on Precinct 13," $7.02 million.
7. "The Phantom of the Opera," $5.02 million.
8. "White Noise," $5 million.
9. "The Aviator," $4.8 million.
10. "Elektra," $3.8 million.