The buoyant US box office showed little sign of flagging as Relativity’s combat adventure Act Of Valor stormed to the top on an estimated $25m.

Ticket receipts climbed around 30% against the same weekend in February 2011 as box office recorded an eighth successive year-on-year rise.

Act Of Valor produced by the Bandito Brothers features active duty Special Forces operatives on a mission to recover a kidnapped CIA agent in what is essentially a jingoistic recruitment ad for the Armed Services.

Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds claimed second spot in a $16m estimated launch that sets up another potentially lucrative performance for one of Lionsgate’s most prized brands.

Warner Bros’ family superstar Journey 2 in third place has amassed $77m after three weekends and remains a potent force worldwide, while last weekend’s champion Safe House ranks fourth and is a day away from crossing $100m for Universal.

There were two other new releases and neither distinguished itself as Universal’s comedy Wanderlust starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston debuted in eighth place on $6.6m and Gone from Sydney Kimmel and Lakeshore Entertainment arrived in ninth place on $5m through Summit Entertainment.

Fox’s 3D release of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace has reached $40.4m after three weekends.

Three heavyweight Oscar contenders sit just outside the top ten in advance of Sunday night’s Academy Awards. Frontrunner The Artist in 12th place added $3m through TWC for $31.9m after 14 weekends in release, while The Descendants one place below stands at $78.5m through Fox Searchlight after 15 and GK Films’ Hugo in 16th is at $69m after 14 through Paramount.

Next weekend’s wide releases are Warner Bros’ comedy Project X and Dr. Seuss The Lorax from Universal.

Estimated Top 10 North America Feb 24-26 2012
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) Act Of Valor (Relativity) Relativity $24.7m –

2 (-) Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds (Lionsgate) Lionsgate $16m –

3 (4) Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (Warner Bros) WBPI $13.5m $76.7m

4 (1) Safe House (Universal) UPI $11.4m $98.1m

5 (2) The Vow (Sony) SPRI $10m $103m

6 (3) Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance (Sony) HPI $8.8m $37.8m

7 (5) This Means War (Fox) Fox Int’l $8.5m $33.6m

8 (-) Wanderlust (Universal) UPI $6.6m –

9 (-) Gone (Summit) Lakeshore-Sierra Affinity $5m –

10 (9) The Secret World Of Arrietty (Disney) WDSMPI $4.5m $14.7m