Aided by a firestorm of tabloid hype concerning the 'relationship' between its stars, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Mr. & Mrs. Smith topped the weekend box office with an estimated total of $51 million and a strong per theater average of $14,909.  With Batman Begins opening on Wednesday this is likely to be Mr. & Mrs. Smith's lone chance at the being the number one film in the country, and the husband and wife spy thriller/action film took full advantage of a lackluster weekend to annihilate the competition.  The computer-animated Madagascar was a distant second at $17 million followed by Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith at $14.8 million.  The final chapter in the Star Wars saga ran its cumulative to $332 million, but it now appears that it will have a difficult time reaching the $400 million plateau.  Don't shed too many tears for George Lucas -- Revenge of the Sith is doing almost as well overseas as it is domestically and the revenue from the DVD should be enormous.


Once again the total weekend box office lagged far behind week 23 in 2004 continuing a trend that has theater owners worried.  Next weekend it will be Batman Begins' turn to attempt to reverse the downward box office trend.


Opening in limited release in just 35 theaters Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle earned an estimated $401,000 thanks to a per theater average of $11,138 second only to Mr. & Mrs. Smith's.  Next weekend Howl's expands to 200 theaters and it should be interesting to see if it can maintain a strong per theater average.