Studio executives will appreciate the fillip, coming as it does just days after the departure of long-serving marketing guru Russell Schwartz, who obviously played a key role in getting the word out on Brett Ratner's latest caper.
Chan and Tucker reunite for the third time as the crime-fighting duo in a familiar tale of international intrigue. The film opened according to expectations and didn't open as well as its predecessor, which took $67.4m in 2001.
The domestic summer box office has generated $3.6bn since May 1 compared to $3.3bn last year and this summer could become the first to cross $4bn. The top 12 films of the weekend grossed 37% more than the corresponding top 12 in 2006, marking the fifth consecutive superior weekend.
In second place Universal's The Bourne Ultimatum took in a robust $33.7m and crossed $100m in the second weekend to stand at $132.3m, while Fox's The Simpsons Movie ranked third on $11.1m for $152.2m after three.
Two other new releases broke into the top 10, led by Paramount's fantasy yarn Stardust starring Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro in fourth on a disappointing $9m. Sony/Revolution's comedy Daddy Day Camp with Cuba Gooding Jr opened in 10th on $3.6m.
Next weekend's wide releases are: Sony's comedy Superbad with Seth Rogen and Johan Hill; Warner Bros' sci-fi thriller The Invasion starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig; and The Weinstein Company's sword and sandals romp The Last Legion with Ben Kingsley and Colin Firth.
Estimated Top 10 North America Aug 10-12, 2007
Film (Dist)/Int'l dist/Est wkd gross/Est total to date
1 (-) Rush Hour 3 (New Line) NLI $50.2m -
2 (1) The Bourne Ultimatum (Universal) UPI $33.7m $132.3m
3 (2) The Simpsons Movie (Fox) Fox International $11.1m $152.2m
4 (-) Stardust (Paramount) PPI $9m -
5 (3) Underdog (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $6.5m $24.7m
6 (6) Hairspray (New Line) NLI $6.4m $92.1m
7 (4) I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry (Universal) UPI $5.9m $103.8m
8 (5) Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (Warner Bros) WBPI $5.4m $272m
9 (7) No Reservations (Warner Bros/Village Roadshow) WBPI $3.9m $32.1m
10 (-) Daddy Day Camp (Sony) SPRI $3.6m -