The family musical was one of the few highlights of a muted weekend that saw overall box office take $75.2m and drop approximately 38% against the same period last year.
The other notable result came from Universal's mystery Changeling starring Angelina Jolie as a wronged mother. The awards season hopeful directed by Clint Eastwood climbed 16 places to fourth on $9.4m for $10.1m after expanding wide in its second weekend.
Opening in second place was The Weinstein Company's comedy Zack And Miri Make A Porno directed by Kevin Smith and starring Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks as cash-strapped friends who make a skin flick to pay the bills.
Supernatural thriller The Haunting Of Molly Hartley opened in fifth place through Freestyle releasing on $6m and stars Haley Bennett as a high school student whose fateful 18th birthday approaches.
Elsewhere DreamWorks-Paramount's thriller Eagle Eye in ninth place is closing in on $100m and stands at $92.5m after six weekends.
Next weekend's wide releases are: Lionsgate's shock opera Repo! The Genetic Opera starring Alexa Vega and Anthony Head; MGM's comedy Soul Men starring the late Bernie Mac and Samuel L Jackson; DreamWorks Animations' Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa through Paramount and featuring the vocal talents of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and Sacho Baron Cohen; Universal's comedy Role Models with Seann William Scott and Paul Rudd.
Estimated Top 10 North America Oct 31-November 2, 2008
Film (Dist)/Int'l dist/Est wkd gross/Est total to date
1 (1) High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $15m $61.8m
2 (-) Zack And Miri Make A Porno (TWC) TWC $10.7m -
3 (2) Saw V (Lionsgate) Mandate Int'l $10.1m $45.8m
4 (20) Changeling (Universal) UPI $9.4m $10.1m
5 (-) The Haunting Of Molly Hartley (Freestyle Releasing) $6m -
6 (4) Beverly Hills Chihuahua (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $4.7m $84.1m
7 (6) The Secret Life Of Bees (Fox Searchlight) Fox Int'l $4m $25.3m
8 (3) Max Payne (Fox) Fox Int'l $3.7m $35.6m
9 (8) Eagle Eye (DreamWorks-Paramount) PPI $3.4m $92.5m
10 (5) Pride And Glory (Warner Bros) NLI $3.3m $11.6m