The slapstick extravaganza "Beverly Hills Ninja" debuted at the top of the weekend's box-office sales chart, collecting $10 million during a traditionally slow period for films, according to estimates released Sunday.
The frantic Chris Farley comedy was followed by another debut, "Metro," Eddie Murphy's return to the action genre, which grossed an estimated $9.3 million. In the follow-up to his hit comedy "The Nutty Professor," Murphy plays a San Francisco Police Department hostage negotiator.
"Evita," starring Madonna, took in an estimated $7.2 million, dropping one place to No. 3. It was followed by Tom Cruise's "Jerry Maguire," which earned an estimated $6.8 million, crossing the $100-million mark in its sixth week of release, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.
"I think the film really tapped into the audience's feelings of wanting to cheer for Jerry, and they love a romantic comedy," said Ed Russell, a spokesman for the Columbia-TriStar Motion Picture Co.
Horror films were in slots 5 and 6, "The Relic" (last week's box-office champ, which took in an estimated $6.7 million this weekend) and "Scream" ($6.3 million). "Michael" ($6 million), "The People vs. Larry Flynt" ($3.4 million), "Jackie Chan's First Strike" ($2.8 million) and "One Fine Day" ($2.2 million) rounded out the Top 10.
In its first weekend, "Albino Alligator" was shown in 12 theaters and took in an estimated $81,000. The gangster film marks the directorial debut of actor Kevin Spacey. Its screenplay was written by Christian Forte, son of '60s singing heartthrob Fabian.
Final figures for the weekend are to be released today.