Hollywood's refusal to toss any new-release chum (with the exception of a single horror offering) into the waters of America's multilplexes just seemed to intensify the public's appetite for the stale Nic Cage/Will Smith/Chipmunk-flavored morsels already floating there. Your Monday morning romp through this weekend's box office results:
1. National Treasure: Book of Secrets - $20.225 million
After learning that National Treasure had topped the domestic box office for a third consecutive weekend, we found ourselves wondering how Nicolas Cage has convinced moviegoers to put aside their apprehensions about the film's intellectually challenging material (we know how we seize up each time we're forced to think about the brain-seizing nightmare that was our fifth-grade American history class) and continue to turn out in such staggering numbers. In search of an answer, we turned to the Oracle of the YouTubes for guidance, who immediately unlocked the mystery of Cage's blockbuster appeal:
2. I Am Legend - $16.3 million
3. Juno - $16.225 million
4. Alvin and the Chipmunks - $16 million
Stop the presses! We have a box office estimates controversy! According to the LAT, executives at other studios are "privately" questioning Warner Bros.' possibly optimistic projection for Legend's weekend tally. We suppose we'll have to wait for the final numbers to see if these quiet accusations are borne out, but the preliminary figures are close enough that a Fox Searchlight executive anticipating a leap into second place has probably already greenlit a new Juno TV spot, featuring the film's hyperverbal, knocked-up protagonist flipping open her burger phone to brag to her chicken-legged baby-daddy, "Hey, Bleeks? You wanna go see Big Willy Style and his German shepherd get chased around by some zombies? No? Yeah, no one else in America does anymore, either. Our movie totally punched his movie in the weiner."
5. One Missed Call - $13.525 million
The modest opening weekend success of fatal-voicemail flick One Missed Call was probably good enough to push follow-up Ringtone into immediate production, in which a number of teens mysteriously begin to die five days after hearing Rhianna's "Umbrella" playing on their pink Razrs.