LOS ANGELES – Jodie Foster's "Flightplan" (search) stayed aloft at the box office, as the airplane thriller took in $15 million to remain the No. 1 movie over a rush of new wide releases.
The science-fiction tale "Serenity," a continuation of writer-director Joss Whedon's cult TV series "Firefly," debuted in second place with $10.1 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The overall box office, which had surged since Labor Day, fell back into a slump that has persisted most of the year. The top 12 movies grossed $75.3 million, down 26 percent from the same weekend in 2004, when "Shark Tale" opened with $47.6 million.
The animated fantasy "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride" was No. 3 with $9.8 million, lifting its total to $32.9 million after two weekends in wide release.
After a strong opening in limited release the previous weekend, David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence" (search) expanded and came in fourth with $8.2 million. The film stars Viggo Mortensen as a family man whose tranquil life is shattered by encounters with mobsters.
"Into the Blue," a thriller with Paul Walker and Jessica Alba as divers hunting for treasure in a 150-year-old shipwreck, opened at No. 5 with $7 million.
The sports flick "The Greatest Game Ever Played," which dramatizes the 1913 U.S. Open golf showdown between an unknown amateur (Shia LaBeouf) and a veteran British champ (Stephen Dillane), debuted at No. 9 with $3.75 million.
Roman Polanski's "Oliver Twist," his new take on the Charles Dickens classic featuring Ben Kingsley, flopped in its wide-release debut after a solid premiere in a handful of theaters a weekend earlier.
Playing in 779 theaters, "Oliver Twist" (search) took in just $875,000 for an $1,123 average. By comparison, "A History of Violence" averaged $6,119 in 1,340 theaters, "Serenity" averaged $4,616 in 2,188 cinemas, "Greatest Game" managed $3,697 in 1,014 movie houses and "Into the Blue" did $2,510 in 2,789 locations.
Polanski's version received mixed reviews, some critics noting the film faithfully adapted Dickens' story but brought little new to the tale of the orphan boy, which has been filmed in many variations for movies and television.
"It's probably one of those things where people feel they know the story so well, and to try to get them to come see it again, possibly in a new way, is not the easiest task," said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony, which released "Oliver Twist."
Opening strongly in limited release was "Capote," starring Philip Seymour Hoffman in an acclaimed performance as author Truman Capote during his years researching and writing the true-crime novel "In Cold Blood." The film grossed $348,978 in 12 theaters for a $29,082 average.
Also in limited release, "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio" debuted with $155,000 in 41 theaters, averaging $3,780. The film stars Julianne Moore as a 1950s housewife who supports her family by winning advertising jingle contests.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Flightplan," $15 million.
2. "Serenity," $10.1 million.
3. "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride," $9.8 million.
4. "A History of Violence," $8.2 million.
5. "Into the Blue," $7 million.
6. "Just Like Heaven," $6.1 million.
7. "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," $4.4 million.
8. "Roll Bounce," $4 million.
9. "The Greatest Game Ever Played," $3.75 million.
10. "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," $3.1 million.