Critically acclaimed drama ChangingLanes topped the domestic box officefor Paramount Pictures over the weekend with a powerful estimated gross of$17.6m. Directed by British film-maker Roger Michell, the film stars BenAffleck and Samuel L Jackson as two men who wage war on each other after aminor car accident.

Changing Lanes, which Paramount/UIP is handling internationallywith the exception of Japan (Mutual Film Co/Toho-Towa), soundly beatColumbia's Panic Room whichslipped to second place after two weeks at the top with an estimated three-daygross of $11.3m. Its site average of $6,716 at 2,613 theatres was the highestin the top ten, and its success continued an upward trend at the North Americanbox office. This weekend was 11% up on the same weekend last year and with onlytwo weekends to go before Spidermankicks off the summer season on May 3, 2002 is setting a record pace. Nextweekend's big openers are Universal's Mummy spinoff The Scorpion King starring The Rock and Warner Bros/CastleRock's Murder By Numberswith Sandra Bullock.

Opening at number three overthe weekend was Columbia's The Sweetest Thing, a grossout comedy vehicle for Cameron Diaz, whichreceived mainly dire reviews and an opening estimated take of $10m. The film,directed by Roger Kumble (Cruel Intentions), co-stars Christina Applegate, Selma Blair, Thomas Jane and ParkerPosey.

Meanwhile, BillPaxton's directorial debut, the gruesome horror thriller Frailty in which Paxton stars with Matthew McConaugheyopened at 1,497 sites for a so-so $4.2m. It was one of two new films thisweekend from Lions Gate Films. The other, Peter Bogdanovich's TheCat's Meow, opened better on11 screens to take an estimated $110,000.

Fine Line Features floppedwith Human Nature, MichelGondry's satire written by Charlie Kaufman, which took just $300,000 at224 sites for a feeble average of $1,339. The film stars Patricia Arquette,Rhys Ifans and Tim Robbins.


Film(Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date

1 (-) Changing Lanes (Paramount) UIP/Mutual $17.6m --

2 (1) Panic Room (Columbia) Columbia TriStar $11.3m $74.1m

3 (-) The Sweetest Thing (Columbia) Columbia TriStar $10m --

4 (3) Ice Age (20th Century Fox) Fox International$8.7m $151.7m

5 (3) The Rookie (Buena Vista) BVI $8.1m $45.4m

6 (2) High Crimes (20th Century Fox) Fox International $15mtbc

7 (6) Clockstoppers (Paramount) UIP $4.8m tbc

8 tied (-) Frailty (Lions Gate) Lions Gate International $4.2m --

8 tied (5) NationalLampoon's Van Wilder (Artisan)Myriad Pictures $4.2m tbc

10 (7) Blade II (New Line) New Line International $4.1m tbc