It will take more than "15 Minutes" to knock "The Mexican" out of first place at the box office.
"The Mexican," starring Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini, remained in first place, with $12.1 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The crime thriller "15 Minutes," starring Robert De Niro and Edward Burns, overcame mixed-to-poor reviews to debut with a respectable $10.5 million.
The gross-out comedy "See Spot Run" held the third-place spot at $6.6 million.
The overall box office was down for the first weekend since mid-October, with the top 12 movies grossing $62 million. Those figures represent a 17% drop from the weekend before, when the top 12 films brought in $75 million.
Despite the recent dip, box office revenues are up 25% from last year, industry analysts said.
"The Mexican" averaged $4,100 on 2,959 screens, compared with "15 Minutes," which debuted at $4,493 per cinema in 2,337 theaters.
"The Mexican," in which Pitt plays a mafia gofer sent to Mexico to retrieve a priceless antique pistol with Roberts as his high-strung girlfriend, remained popular with audiences.
"You've got two irresistible stars," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations. "It's a fun road movie, and people like that."
In "15 Minutes," De Niro plays a celebrated, headline-grabbing New York City homicide detective who teams up with an arson investigator (Burns) to track a couple of Eastern European immigrants on a killing spree. The film has received some scathing reviews.
"It's a film that appeals to an older audience, and they tend to pay more attention to reviews," Dergarabedian said. "I think that may have hurt the film, no doubt about it."
Families with young children made up most of the audience for "See Spot Run." David Arquette plays a mailman baby-sitting a drug-sniffing dog targeted for a mob hit.
Several new films opened in limited release.
"The Widow of Saint-Pierre," starring Juliette Binoche, grossed $70,000 in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles.
"The Widow of Saint-Pierre," in French with English subtitles, chronicles a 19th century community in Newfoundland that rallies around a convicted murderer. The film expands to more cities in mid-March.
The hairstylist competition comedy "Blow Dry," which opened Wednesday, took in $250,000 in 157 theaters.
Final figures for the weekend are to be released today.