Buena Vista's world-beatingpirates ruled the waves for the third consecutive weekend and swept past $300m,as Sony's Monster House trailedin its wake in second place and M Night Shyamalan's Lady In The Water capsized in third.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest added an estimated $35m to raise the domestic tally to $321.7m, and hasalready overtaken the original's six-month $305m final total.
Dead Man's Chest crossed $300m ina record 16 days, and Buena Vista executives expect it to overtake FindingNemo's $339.7m final tally withinthe week to become Disney's biggest movie of all time.
Combined with the $217m international cumulative total, Dead Man's Chest currently stands at $539m worldwide.
Monster House, an animatedfeature about children who uncover the secret of a creepy residence, opened tostrong reviews on $23m and stars the vocal talents of Steve Buscemi, NickCannon and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Meanwhile M Night Shyamalan's Lady In The Water, released through Warner Bros following the director'smuch publicised falling-out with Disney, generated the director's weakestopening weekend since The Sixth Sense in 1999.
The picture stars Paul Giamatti as an apartment block manager who tries to helpa mermaid-like creature return home. Bryce Dallas Howard and Bob Balaban alsostar.
While The Sixth Sense opened on$26.7m it went on to gross $293.5m. Lady In The Water will struggle to reach one-third of that amount inthe face of poor reviews, savage online word of mouth, the box office antics ofDead Man's Chest and anticipatedupcoming releases like Miami Viceand Talladega Nights.
MGM/TWC's Clerks II opened insixth place on $9.6m, some 12 years after director Kevin Smith unleashed thecult comedy Clerks.
Smith's update revisits the lives of the slackers played by Brian O'Halloran,Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes and Smith. "Clerks II was extremely low cost, extremely profitable, andwe're extremely proud of Kevin Smith's success," TWC co-chairman HarveyWeinstein said.
Fox's comedy My Super Ex-Girlfriendstarring Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson opened in seventh place on $8.7m. Thurmanplays a superhero who uses her powers to torment her boyfriend after he dumpsher. Ivan Reitman directed.
Fox's The Devil Wears Prada ranksninth and is bearing down on $100m in its fourth weekend after adding $7.4m for$97.6m. Universal's comedy You, Me And Dupree ranks fourth on $45.3m.
The top 12 titles combined for $143.2m, a rise of 11% against the same periodlast year.
Next weekend's wide releases are Fox's comedy John Tucker Must Die starring Jesse Metcalfe and Brittany Snow;Universal's crime action adaptation Miami Vice starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx; and WarnerBros' animated sequel The Ant Bully,voiced by Nic Cage and Julia Roberts.
Estimated Top Ten North America Jul 21-23, 2006
Film (Distributor)/Internationaldistribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (1) Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (Buena Vista) BVI $35m $35m $321.7m
2 (-) Monster House (Sony) SPRI$23m -
3 (-) Lady In The Water (WarnerBros) WBPI $18.2m -
4 (3) You, Me And Dupree (Universal)UIP $12.8m $45.3m
5 (2) Little Man (Sony) SPRI $11m$40.6m
6 (-) Clerks II (MGM) TWC $9.6m-
7 (-) My Super Ex-Girlfriend (Fox) Fox Int'l $8.7m-
8 (4) Superman Returns (Warner Bros) WBPI $7.5m $178.4m
9 (5) The Devil Wears Prada (Fox) Fox Int'l $7.4m $97.6m
10 (6) Cars (Buena Vista/Pixar) BVI $4.9m $229.4m