Screen Gems’ thriller Obsessed starring Beyonce Knowles, Idris Elba and Ali Larter roared to the top of the charts on an estimated $28.5m over the weekend.

Last weekend’s biggest opener, Warner Bros’ 17 Again fell 51% to second place in its second weekend on $11.7m for $39.9m.

Obsessed’s stronger than expected debut enabled the North American box office to maintain its record breaking pace. With less than a week to go before Fox launches the summer blockbuster season with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, cumulative box office for the year-to date has reached $3.06bn and tracks 17.4% ahead of the same portion of 2008.

Meanwhile attendance appears to remain impervious to the recession. Adjusted for rising ticket prices, the admissions level is 15.7% ahead of 2008.

Rogue’s street fighting drama Fighting starring Channing Tatum delivered a respectable launch in third place on $11.4m, one place ahead of DreamWorks-Paramount’s new release The Soloist on a surprisingly good $9.7m.

The film’s prospects took a big hit last year when Paramount decided at the eleventh hour to pull The Soloist from the opening night slot of AFI FEST after it moved the release date to 2009. However Joe Wright’s drama about a journalist who befriends a destitute musical prodigy has rallied well and earned mostly decent reviews. Robert Downey Jr and Jamie Foxx star.

Disneynature set a record with Earth, its first release in North America since the documentary division launched a year ago. Earth grossed $8.5m over three days and $14.2m in total since the Earth day debut last Wednesday, beating March Of The Penguins’ $4.4m three-day wide opening weekend figure to score the biggest debut for a nature documentary.

DreamWorks Animation’s Monsters Vs Aliens fell two places to sixth on $8.5m for $174.8m in its fifth week and has also crossed $300m worldwide now, while Disney’s Hannah Montana The Movie fell five places to eighth in its third week on $6.4m for $65.6m.

Universal’s Fast & Furious looks to be on its way out of the top ten after an excellent run and ranks ninth on $6.1m for $145.2m in its fourth weekend. The action film crossed $300m at the global box office this weekend as it remained the top Hollywood release overseas. Stablemate State of Play tumbled 51% and five places to seventh in its second weekend on $6.9m for $25.1m.

Next weekend Fox unleashes X-Men Origins: Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber and Danny Huston. Counter-programming efforts come from Warner Bros with the romantic comedy Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner and Lionsgate’s animated 3D release Battle For Terra.

Estimated Top 10 North America April 24-26 2009
Film (Dist)/Int’l dist/Est wkd gross/Est total to date

1 (-) Obsessed (Sony) SPRI $28.5m –
2 (1) 17 Again (Warner Bros) WBPI $11.7m $39.9m
3 (-) Fighting (Rogue) UPI $11.4m –
4 (-) The Soloist (DreamWorks-Paramount) UPI $9.7m –
5 (-) Earth (Disneynature) BBC Worldwide/Greenlight/WDSMPI $8.6m $14.2m
6 (4) Monsters Vs Aliens (DreamWorks Animation-Paramount) PPI $8.5m $174.8m
7 (2) State Of Play (Universal) UPI $6.9m $25.1m
8 (3) Hannah Montana The Movie (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $6.4m $65.6m
9 (5) Fast & Furious (Universal) UPI $6.1m $145.2m
10 (6) Crank: High Voltage (Lionsgate) Mandate Int’l $2.4m $11.5m