LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Football film "The Blind Side" tackled the top spot at North American box offices with $20.4 million in ticket sales for a rare climb up the charts in its third week, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
Vampire romance "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" dropped one place from last weekend to No. 2 with $15.7 million in ticket sales, and new release "Brothers," about soldiers returning home from war, landed in third place with $9.7 million.
The rise of "The Blind Side" bucks the accepted Hollywood wisdom that a new film will claim the No. 1 spot in its first week, then drop down the charts in subsequent weeks.
But "Blind Side," starring Sandra Bullock in the feel-good movie based on a real-life story about a woman who takes a homeless boy and helps turn him into a football star, opened at No. 2 three weeks ago. Its cumulative ticket sales now stand at $129 million in the United States and Canada.
"Blind Side" was released by Time Warner studio Warner Bros. and made by privately held Alcon Entertainment.
"New Moon" pushed its North America ticket sales total to just over $255 million, and worldwide the movie has now raked in $570 million, according to tracker Hollywood.com Box Office. It was distributed by independent Summit Entertainment.
"Disney's A Christmas Carol" also rose up the charts one notch, landing at No. 4 and adding $7.5 million to its coffers. Its gross domestic ticket sales now stand at $115 million.
After five weeks in theaters "A Christmas Carol" swapped places over the weekend with another Walt Disney Co movie, comedy "Old Dogs," which fell one place to No. 5 with $6.9 million in ticket sales.
Along with "Brothers," only two other new releases made the top 10. Action flick "Armored" tied for No. 6 spot with $6.6 million, and "Everybody's Fine," starring Robert De Niro and Drew Barrymore, was No. 10 showing $4 million in ticket sales.
Disaster movie "2012" also took in $6.6 million, and after four weeks in theaters has now collected $149 million in domestic theaters and $517 million internationally for a worldwide total of $666 million, its distributor said.
Martial arts flick "Ninja Assassin" and animated comedy "Planet 51," took in $5.0 and $4.3 million, respectively, to land in the No. 8 and No. 9 spots and round out the top 10.
Elsewhere, George Clooney movie "Up In the Air," about a man who fires people for a living, opened in 15 U.S. theaters this past weekend after being named the year's best film by the U.S.-based National Board of Review earlier this week.
It took in nearly $1.2 million for a per screen average of roughly $79,000, according to distributor Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc.. It will expand broadly around the U.S. in coming weeks.
"Brothers" was released by Lionsgate Entertainment. "Armored," "2012" and "Planet 51" were released by divisions of Sony Pictures Entertainment, a unit of Sony Corp.. "Everybody's Fine" was released by Disney's Miramax Films, and "Ninja Assassin" was distributed by Warner Bros.
Reporting Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Cynthia Osterman