11 February 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Eddie Murphy is proving to be as big of a movie star as the fat suit he wears in the DreamWorks comedy Norbit.

The Academy Award-nominated actor has earned himself the top spot in the North American boxoffice rankings with his latest film, a Paramount Pictures release, just two weekends before he could very well nab his first Oscar statuette off his Dreamgirls performance.

But while Norbit killed with an estimated $33.7 million for the three-day frame, the thriller Hannibal Rising, an MGM release of a film from the Weinstein Co., died at a meager $13.3 million. Hannibal's disappointing opening take dragged down the weekend's boxoffice totals, which saw the top 12 movies down an estimated 10% compared to the same frame last year. It marks the sixth consecutive down weekend of 2007. Universal Pictures' romantic comedy Because I Said So held up well in its second weekend, grossing an estimated $9 million and falling only 31% to nab the third spot in the boxoffice rankings. The Diane Keaton starrer has grossed an estimated $25.6 million in 10 days of release.

Sony Pictures' The Messengers didn't hold up as strongly. Typical for a horror flick, the Screen Gems production, which ranked No. 1 last weekend, fell an estimated 51%, grossing $7.2 million. The film's cume stands at an estimated $24.7 million after two weekends in wide release.

20th Century Fox's Night at the Museum continues to astonish. The film, which has been in theaters for two months, fell only 10% compared to its last frame. In fifth place, the Ben Stiller starrer from director Shawn Levy earned an estimated $5.7 million to put its cume at an astronomical $232 million.

Another Universal holdover also seems to be hanging in there a bit more strongly than expected. The Joe Carnahan-directed Smokin' Aces fell 38% in its third weekend in release, grossing an additional $3.7 million. In seventh place, the R-rated actioner has earned $30.8 million in its 17 days in release. Fox's parody Epic Movie tumbled 47% as it collected $4.5 million, which put it in sixth place.

Oscar-nominated films rounded out the top 10, with Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth continuing to interest audiences. The adult fantasy tale fell only 4% from last weekend on 61 additional theaters.

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