However it is Burn After Reading that will capture the lion's share of attention as the screwball comedy followed up last weekend's number one launch with a robust $11.3m hold that raised its domestic tally to $36.4m.
The Coen Brothers' are savouring the biggest launch of their career and will appreciate this excellent second session. In fact this has proved to be a bountiful weekend for film-makers not typically associated with broad commercial success as Lakeview Terrace produced the biggest opening three days of Neil LaBute's career.
Lionsgate's comedy My Best Friend's Girl starring Kate Hudson and US comic Dane Cook launched in third place on $8.3m, Exodus Film Group's animated feature Igor opened in fourth through TWC/MGM on a whisker over $8m and DreamWorks-Paramount comedy Ghost Town starring Ricky Gervais in his first lead role failed to ignite audiences despite mostly positive reviews and opened in eighth place on $5.2m.
Weekend box office dropped approximately 4% against the same period last year and the box office has trailed year-on-year comparisons with 2007 for eight out of the last nine weekends.
In the limited arena, Paramount Vantage opened The Duchess with Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes and projected a $202,527 three-day gross and an excellent $28,932 per-screen average from seven locations.
Focus' Hamlet 2 has taken $4.9m while Elegy, released through Samuel Goldwyn Films, has crossed $3m after adding $207,882 for $3.1m.
Next weekend's wide releases are: Spike Lee's second world war drama Miracle At Saint Anna starring Derek Luke, Michael Ealy and John Turturro through Disney; road movie The Lucky Ones with Rachel McAdams, Tim Robbins and Michael Pena; through Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions; DreamWorks-Paramount's thriller Eagle Eye starring Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan; and Warner Bros' romance Nights In Rodanthe with Richard Gere and Diane Lane.
Estimated Top 10 North America Sept 19-21, 2008
Film (Dist)/Int'l dist/Est wkd gross/Est total to date
1 (-) Lakeview Terrace (Sony) SPRI $15.6m -
2 (1) Burn After Reading (Focus Features) FFI $11.3m $36.4m
3 (-) My Best Friend's Girl (Lionsgate) Mandate Int'l $8.3m -
4 (-) Igor (MGM) TWC $8m -
5 (3) Righteous Kill (Overture Films) Nu Image/Millennium $7.7m $28.8m
6 (2) Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys (Lionsgate) Mandate Int'l $7.5m $28.4m
7 (4) The Women (Picturehouse) Inferno $5.3m $19.2m
8 (-) Ghost Town (Paramount) PPI/Spyglass $5.2m -
9 (7) The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) WBPI $2.9m $521.9m
10 (6) The House Bunny (Sony) SPRI-various $2.8m $45.7m