"Tropic Thunder" storms North American box office

Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:28pm EDT
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By Lisa Baertlein

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Action movie spoof "Tropic Thunder" commanded the No. 1 spot at North American box offices for the second straight week, narrowly conquering sorority-themed college romp "House Bunny."

"Tropic Thunder," which stars Robert Downey Jr, Ben Stiller and Jack Black, had an estimated weekend total of $16.1 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters, bringing its total domestic take to $65.7 million, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

Downey, Stiller and Black have won much laughter from audiences playing a group of self-absorbed Hollywood actors caught up in a real-life battle with narco-terrorists while filming a war movie in Southeast Asia. The film was directed, co-written and co-produced by Stiller and was distributed by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc.

"House Bunny," from Sony Corp's Columbia Pictures unit, debuted at No. 2 with ticket sales of $15.1 million.

Written by Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz of "Legally Blonde" fame, the comedy stars Anna Faris as a former Playboy playmate who becomes house mother to socially inept sorority sisters after being cast out of the Playboy mansion.

In third place was "Death Race" with a weekend tally of $12.3 million, according to a spokesman for Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric Co's NBC Universal.

The film, loosely based on 1975's "Death Race 2000," stars Jason Statham as a former Nascar champion and ex-con who is framed for his wife's murder and forced by a prison warden to compete in a brutal winner-take-all race of weaponized monster cars. Joan Allen stars as the icy prison warden.

BATMAN SLIPS   Continued...

<p>Cast member Ben Stiller (L) greets co-star Matthew McConaughey at the premiere of "Tropic Thunder" at the Mann's Village theatre in Westwood, California August 11, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>