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'Lemony' tops at box office

LOS ANGELES -- "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" brought in $30.2 million of good fortune to debut in first place at the weekend box office.

The film, based on the first three children's books by Lemony Snicket, who is actually author Daniel Handler, knocked the star-driven sequel "Ocean's Twelve" to second place, according to studio estimates released yesterday.

"Spanglish," starring Tea Leoni, Adam Sandler, and Spanish actress Paz Vega, made its debut at third with an estimated weekend haul of $9 million.

"Lemony Snicket" tells the story of a trio of orphans who try to defend themselves from greedy Count Olaf, played by Jim Carrey, who pursues the children by concealing himself as a variety of thinly veiled characters.

Its success continues a trend that has seen family-oriented films scoring at the box office, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

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