But after two straight weekends of rising revenue, Hollywood slid back into the slump that has lingered most of the year. The top 12 movies took in $128.9 million, down 7 percent from the same weekend in 2004.
"The business was there. It just got spread pretty thin among a lot of movies," said Bruce Snyder, head of distribution for 20th Century Fox, whose films include "Fantastic Four."
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," starring Johnny Depp (search) as candyman Willy Wonka, remained the top movie with $28.3 million, bringing its 10-day total to $114.1 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Owen Wilson (search) and Vince Vaughn's "Wedding Crashers" held on to the No. 2 spot with $26.2 million, raising its 10-day total to $80.9 million. "Wedding Crashers" held up strongly, its revenues off just 23 percent from opening weekend, compared to a 50 percent drop on "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."
Michael Bay's cloning thriller "The Island" and the remake of the baseball comedy "The Bad News Bears" both debuted weakly.
"The Island," starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson as clones on the run from a facility that has raised them as spare body parts, took in $12.1 million to finish at No. 4. It came in just behind "Fantastic Four," which grossed $12.3 million to lift its 17-day haul to $122.6 million.
Never a critics' darling, director Bay ("Armageddon," "Pearl Harbor") actually earned somewhat better reviews than usual for "The Island." Distributor DreamWorks was puzzled why Bay's action fans failed to turn up.
"I don't know. Clearly, it's a disappointing opening," said Jim Tharp, DreamWorks' head of distribution. "We can only hope the film finds its audience in the next few weeks."
"Bad New Bears," featuring Billy Bob Thornton as a washed-up ballplayer coaching a team of Little League misfits, came in fifth with $11.5 million.
The acclaimed independent film "Hustle & Flow," starring Terrence Howard as a pimp trying to become a rap singer, debuted at No. 7 with $8.1 million. That was a solid opening compared to "The Island" and "Bad News Bears," which played in more than 3,000 theaters, three times as many as "Hustle & Flow."
Rob Zombie's horror tale "The Devil's Rejects," a follow-up to his 2003 slasher flick "House of 1000 Corpses," opened at No. 8 with $7 million.
The Antarctic documentary "March of the Penguins" expanded to 695 theaters, up from 132 the previous weekend, and cracked the top 10 with $4.3 million.
With an $8.8 million weekend, Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise's "War of the Worlds" climbed to $208.3 million, second-best for the year after "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith," which has hit $376 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," $28.3 million.
2. "Wedding Crashers," $26.2 million.
3. "Fantastic Four," $12.3 million.
4. "The Island," $12.1 million.
5. "The Bad News Bears," $11.5 million.
6. "War of the Worlds," $8.8 million.
7. "Hustle & Flow," $8.1 million.
8. "The Devil's Rejects," $7 million.
9. "Batman Begins," $4.7 million.
10. "March of the Penguins," $4.3 million.