consecutive weekend and raised its domestic running total to $164.1m following a $24m weekend, according to studio estimates.
Sony's The Pursuit of Happyness consolidated its $100m-plus status in second place as $13m elevated the tally to $124.2m after four weekends.
The story of the weekend however was Universal's sci-fi thriller Children Of Men, which climbed 19 places to third in its second weekend following a wide expansion.
The film swelled from a handful of theatres to 1,209 screens and added $10.3m for an early $11.9m running total.
Clive Owen and Julianne Moore play freedom fighters in a future-set England where the fate of the human race hangs in the balance.
Alfonso Cuaron directed. Paramount's drama Freedom Writers starring Hilary Swank as an inspirational high school teacher opened in fourth on $9.7m, two places above Lionsgate's animated debutant Happily N'Ever After on $6.8m.
New Line's comedy caper Code Name: The Cleaner starring Cedric The Entertainer and Lucy Liu opened outside the top 10 in 12th place on $4.3m.
Picturehouse's fantasy drama Pan's Labyrinth, named the best film of 2006 by the National Society of Film Critics this weekend, grossed $727,066 for an impressive $1.8m early running total.
The film expanded from 17 screens in key cities to 44, mostly in Los Angeles, and is playing well with regular film-goers as well as genre fans of director Guillermo del Toro.
Overall box office for the first week of the year amounted to $273m, up approximately 10% against the same period in 2006.
Estimated Top 10 North America Jan 5-7, 2006
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend
gross/Estimated total to date
1 (1) Night At The Museum (Fox) Fox Int'l $24m $164.1m
2 (2) The Pursuit of Happyness (Sony) SPRI $13m $124.2m
3 (22) Children Of Men (Universal) UPI $10.3m $11.9m
4 (-) Freedom Writers (Paramount) PPI $9.7m -
5 (3) Dreamgirls (Paramount) PPI $8.8m $54.5m
6 (-) Happily N'Ever After (Lionsgate) Odyssey Entertainment $6.8m -
7 (4) Charlotte's Web (Paramount) PPI $6.6m $66.9m
8 (5) The Good Shepherd (Universal) UPI $6.5m $48.4m
9 (6) Rocky Balboa (MGM) Fox Int'l/various $6.3m $60.9m
10 (8) We Are Marshall (Warner Bros) WBPI $5.1m $35.4m