If I seemed distressed about Paul Blart: Mall Cop handily winning its debut weekend, imagine how I feel about it spending two weeks at #1. Its family film bona fides helped it edge out Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (at least in the estimates), despite the latter winning Friday. Underworld's $20.70 million opening is the weakest of the franchise, dipping just below the first film's $21 million and change; it's a good thing they saved money by ditching Kate Beckinsale in favor of Rhona Mitra, though I sense that the fourth film may go straight to DVD.

The other new wide release this weekend was Inkheart, and it's the year's first genuine flop. Kid-friendly, pervasively marketed fantasy based on a popular book seemed like a recipe for success, but it didn't take, with the film opening to $7.7 million in a not-terribly-crowded marketplace. Possibly not enough whole-family appeal.

Oscar nominations were announced on Thursday; that, combined with a screen count boost, combined with already steamrolling word-of-mouth rocketed Slumdog Millionare to its first double-digit weekend and an 80% gain over last week. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button -- the nomination leader -- managed to hold the line from last week without the benefit of a screen count increase, which is good news.


The full top 10 after the jump.

1 - Paul Blart: Mall Cop (Sony) - $21.50 ($6,838) - $64.80
2 - Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (Screen Gems) - $20.70 ($7,036) - $20.70
3 - Gran Torino (Warner Bros.) - $16.00 ($5,255) - $97.58
4 - Hotel for Dogs (Dreamworks) - $12.36 ($3,779) - $36.96
5 - Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) - $10.55 ($7,477) - $55.92
6 - My Bloody Valentine (Lionsgate) - $10.05 ($3,966) - $37.73
7 - Inkheart (New Line) - $7.73 ($2,910) - $7.73
8 - Bride Wars (Fox) - $7.00 ($2,671) - $48.70
9 - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Warner Bros.) - $6.00 ($2,651) - $111.04
10 - Notorious (Fox Searchlight) - $5.70 ($3,473) - $39.76

Next week: Taken is the widest new release, followed by the PG-13 horror offering The Uninvited and the Renee Zellweger rom-com New in Town. I think the ads for Taken have been fantastic -- and prevalent -- so I expect it to do pretty well. The Uninvited has looked really generic, but I'm not sure which way that cuts.