The action sequel The Transporter 2 roared to the top of the charts overthe Labor Day holiday weekend on an estimated $20.3m over four days.
Opening in third place on $10.8m was Focus Features' acclaimedJohn LeCarre adaptation The Constant Gardener, while two movies from the shelf - Underclassmanfrom Miramax and ASound Of Thunder fromFranchise Pictures and Warner Bros - flopped outside the top 10 on $3.1m and$1.2m respectively.
In an ironic twist to a summer that generated a chronic box officeslump and saw attendances drop to their lowest level since 1997, the combinedbox office from the top 12 titles climbed 16% against Labor Day weekend 2004 on$96.4m.
In The Transporter 2, Jason Statham reprises his role from the 2002 original as anex-Special Forces agent who plies his trade as a top-secret deliveryman who isassigned to protect a millionaire's twin boys.
Luc Besson co-wrote and produced and Louis Leterrier directed thepicture, which averaged $6,130 on 3,303 screens and drew generally positivereviews. Amber Valletta and Alessandro Gassman also star.
Universal's comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin slipped to second place on a strong$16.6m bringing its total gross to $71.9m after three weekends.
Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz star in The Constant Gardener, a transcontinental tale of a man'squest to discover the truth about his wife's murder.
Oscar nominated Fernando Meirelles directed The ConstantGardener, whichaveraged $8,026 on 1,346 screens over four days and has grossed $12.5m since itopened last week.
Warner Independent Pictures' March Of The Penguins soldiered on its 11th weekend andtook a $5.4m four-day haul to bring its total to a mighty $63.4m.
NewLine's comedy Wedding Crashers ranks seventh on $195.8m after eight weekendsand should pass $200m next weekend, while Dimension's The Brothers Grimm fell two to sixth on $27.6m in its second weekend.
Next weekend's wide releases are Screen Gems' spooky drama TheExorcism Of Emily Rosestarring Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Campbell Scott and Jennifer Carpenter;and New Line's comedy The Man, which stars Eugene Levy and Samuel L Jackson.
EstimatedTop Ten US Sept 2-5 2005
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend
gross/Estimated total to date
1 (-) The Transporter 2 (Fox) Europa Corp $20.3m -
2 (1) The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Universal) UIP $16.6m $71.9m
3 (-) The Constant Gardener (Focus Features) Focus Features $10.8m $12.5m
4 (3) Red Eye (DreamWorks) UIP $9.3m $45.4m
5 (2) The Brothers Grimm (Miramax) Miramax Int'l/BVI $7.9m $27.6m
6 (4) Four Brothers (Paramount) UIP $6.4m $64.4m
7 (6) Wedding Crashers (New Line) New Line Int'l $5.8m $195.8m
8 (7) March Of The Penguins (WiP) Wild Bunch $5.4m $63.4m
9 (8) Skeleton Key (Universal) UIP $4.1 $43.8m
10 (5) TheCave (Screen Gems)Lakeshore International $3.7m $11.7m