Paramount's Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was the clear victor at the box office over the weekend with a somewhat disappointing total of $16.2 million.  Bernie Mac took second place with his baseball comedy, Mr. 3000, which took in an estimated $9.2 million.  Last week's leader, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, which earned over $23 million in its debut frame, suffered a 61% drop in its second weekend and finished in third place. 


Sky Captain, which is the first Hollywood science fiction film made without conventional sets, has received generally good reviews and the film has generated good 'buzz' for its technique and design, but the big question is, how wide is the film's appeal?  With a visual style that resembles nothing so much as a Fleischer Superman cartoon, Sky Captain should have comic fans in its thrall and good word of mouth may be enough to help the film avoid the 60% second week box office drop-off that now appears to be the norm for Hollywood's blockbusters (Sky Captain was originally scheduled to open in mid-summer, but Paramount shifted it to the fall when there is much less competition).  A strong box office performance by Sky Captain, which cost an estimated $70 million, would strengthen the hand of director/creator Kerry Conran, whose next project, A Princess of Mars (based on one of Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter of Mars series of novels), is currently slated for release in the summer of 2006, and which Paramount hopes to develop in to a franchise -- a franchise that could potentially be very good news for pop culture retailers.


Zhang Yimou's Hero dropped some 33% to finish at number seven, earning $3 million over the weekend and bringing its cumulative total to $46.2 million.  Alien vs. Predator slipped 62%, earning a mere $400,000 -- its run looks to be over with a total that should top out at $80 million.