A dismal domestic weekend saw Warner Bros’ family tale climb two places to the top as a cadre of lacklustre new releases failed to ignite the box office.

Leading the pack of newbies was Mandate’s cancer comedy 50/50 starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick, released through Summit in North America. It opened wide on $8.9m following the recent world premiere in Toronto.

TriStar’s faith-based film Courageous finished fifth after a strong launch on Friday and grossed $8.8m over three days, while Morgan Creek’s thriller Dream House starring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz ranked sixth on $8.2m through Universal.

Fox’s comedy What’s Your Number? starring Anna Faris debuted further down at number eight on $5.6m. Omnilab Media’s thriller Killer Elite with Jason Statham, Robert De Niro and Clive Owen is hanging in there and ranks tenth after two weekends on $17.4m.

Another independent hope, the critically acclaimed Drive from Nicolas Winding Refn, has grossed a solid $27.1m through FilmDistrict and ranks eleventh after three weekends.

Jeff Nichols’ widely admired Take Shelter debuted through SPC on $56,200 from three venues for an excellent $18,733 per-site debut.

Next weekend’s wide releases are DreamWorks’ Real Steel starring Hugh Jackman through Buena Vista and recent Venice opener The Ides Of March with George Clooney and Ryan Gosling through Columbia.

Estimated Top 10 North America Sept 30-Oct 2, 2011
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (3) Dolphin Tale (Warner Bros) WBPI $14.2m $37.5m

2 (2) Moneyball (Sony) SPRI $12.5m $38.5m

3 (1) The Lion King (In 3D) (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $11.1m $79.7m

4 (-) 50/50 (Summit) Lionsgate $8.9m –

5 (-) Courageous (TriStar) SPRI $8.8m –

6 (-) Dream House (Universal) Morgan Creek Int’l $8.2m

7 (4) Abduction (Lionsgate) Lionsgate $5.7m $19.1m

8 (-) What’s Your Number? (Fox) Fox Int’l $5.6m –

9 (6) Contagion (Warner Bros) WBPI $5m $64.7m

10 (5) Killer Elite (Open Road) Inferno $4.9m $17.4m