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Cruise vs. ship at the box office

LOS ANGELES -- It was bottoms up for ''Poseidon," as the cruise ship disaster remake failed to topple ''Mission: Impossible III" from a second week atop the nation's box office, according to studio estimates yesterday.

''Mission: Impossible III" clung to No. 1 with a $24.5 million take during an anemic North America box office weekend that saw the Tom Cruise action film drop 49 percent from its opening weekend. Internationally, ''Mission: Impossible III" raked in another $37.3 million to bring its two-week earnings overall to $214 million.

''It's not a bad start," said Rob Moore, Paramount's president of worldwide marketing, distribution, and operations.

''Poseidon," which reportedly cost $150 million-plus to make, debuted in second place with what was described as a solid weekend opening of $20.3 million.

The Robin Williams comedy ''RV" was third with $9.5 million, Lindsay Lohan's ''Just My Luck" debuted in fourth with $5.5 million, and ''An American Haunting" was fifth with $3.7 million.

The overall North America turnstile take was more than 13 percent behind the comparable 2005 period, the first time in seven weeks that box office receipts dropped from last year's figures.

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