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"National Treasure" tops box office again

December 05, 2004

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Nicolas Cage's "National Treasure," about a race to find a fortune hidden by the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was the top movie for a third straight weekend with $17.1 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday. The action flick lifted its total to $110.2 million after 17 days in release.

Mike Nichols' caustic sex drama "Closer" opened strongly in narrower release, taking in $7.7 million. Playing in 476 theaters, "Closer" had a healthy average of $16,176 a cinema, compared to a $5,286 average in 3,243 theaters for "National Treasure."

The martial-arts epic "House of Flying Daggers" premiered well in limited release. Directed by Zhang Yimou ("Hero"), the film grossed $417,020 in 15 theaters for a $27,801 average.

The overall box office declined after three straight weekends of rising revenue. The top 12 movies grossed $80.3 million, down 10 percent from the same weekend last year.

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Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released today.

1. "National Treasure," $17.1 million.

2. "Christmas With the Kranks," $11.7 million.

3. "The Polar Express," $11 million.

4. "The Incredibles," $9.2 million.

5. "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie," $7.8 million.

6. "Closer," $7.7 million.

7. "Alexander," $4.7 million.

8. "Finding Neverland," $2.9 million.

9. "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason," $2.8 million.

10. "Ray," $1.9 million.

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