Disney's decision to plunder the live-action back catalogue and revisit its Witch Mountain franchise from the 1970s exceeded expectations with an estimated $25m launch that still wasn't enough to prevent the first year-on-year drop in six weeks as box office slid 16% against the same weekend in 2008.

Dwayne Johnson (formerly The Rock), AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig star in the family adventure that stands to make sold gains during the upcoming spring break holidays.

In second place Watchmen, released in North America through Warner Bros, dropped 67% on $18.1m for a creditable $86m after two weekends and should cross $100m by the end of next weekend or shortly thereafter.

The Rogue Pictures remake of Wes Craven's notorious 1972 revenge tale The Last House On The Left opened in third place on $14.7m for Universal.

EuropaCorp's Taken continued its extraordinary run for Fox as the kidnapping thriller added $6.7m in its seventh week to rank fourth on $126.8m. Fox Searchlight's similarly impressive Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire in sixth place boosted the tally by $5m to $132.6m after 18 weeks.

It wasn't all success for Fox Searchlight however as its high school comedy Miss March launched in tenth place on $2.4m for a disappointing $1,349 per-theatre average from 1,742 sites.

Tyler Perry's Madea Goes To Jail in fifth place is another high achiever and stands at $83.2m through Lionsgate after four weeks.

In the limited release arena Overture Films scored a palpable hit as the comedy Sunshine Cleaning scored the best per-theatre average of the weekend on $53,500. Overall the picture, which stars Emily Blunt and Amy Adams and premiered at Sundance in 2008, grossed $214,000.

Three potential big hitters open wide next weekend. Paramount's comedy I Love You, Man stars Paul Rudd, Jason Segel and Rashida Jones. Summit's apocalyptic thriller Knowing stars Nicolas Cage and Sony's crime caper Duplicity boasts the return of Julia Roberts alongside her Closer co-star Clive Owen.

Estimated Top 10 North America Mar 13-15, 2009
Film (Dist)/Int'l dist/Est wkd gross/Est total to date

1 (-) Race To Witch Mountain (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $25m -
2 (1) Watchmen (Warner Bros) PPI $18.1m $86m
3 (-) The Last House On The Left (Rogue) UPI $14.7m -
4 (3) Taken (Fox) EuropaCorp $6.7m $126.8m
5 (2) Tyler Perry's Madea Goes To Jail (Lionsgate) Mandate Int'l $5.1m $83.2m
6 (4) Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) Fox Int'l $5m $132.6m
7 (5) Paul Blart: Mall Cop (Sony) SPRI $3.1m $137.8m
8 (6) He's Just Not That Into You (Warner Bros) New Line Int'l $2.9m $89m
9 (7) Coraline (Focus Features) FFI $2.7m $69.1m
10 (-) Miss March (Fox Searchlight) Fox Int'l $2.4m-