The ode to the small but mighty dog, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” kept its leader-of-the-pack status for the second week in a row, according to studio estimates. The family comedy earned $17.5 million for Disney, marking a total of $52.5 in its second week on the nation’s screens.

The miniscule mutts beat out two debuting films, the fright flick “Quarantine”, which took in $14.2 million, and Ridley Scott’s “Body of Lies”, which grabbed the third slot at $13.1 million. Based on a 2007 novel by Washington Post journalist David Ignatius, “Body of Lies” features Leonardo DiCaprio as a brilliant young CIA agent and Russell Crowe as his boss. “Quarantine”, a film released by Sony Screen Gems, centers on a contagion that turns an apartment building’s tenants into flesh-hungry monsters. Shia LaBeouf’s terrorist thriller, “Eagle Eye” came in at number four.

Two other films premiering this weekend reported depressed ticket sales. Football drama “The Express” earned $4.73 million for sixth place, while “City of Ember” came in 10th with $3.2 million. “The Express” stars Rob Brown and Dennis Quaid in the story of Ernie Davis, the first black player to win the Heisman Trophy. “City of Ember” stars Tim Robbins and Bill Murray in a post-apocalyptic adventure set in an underground realm.

Keira Knightley’s “The Duchess” reached the number nine slot as it expanded nationwide after three weekends in limited release. The Paramount Vantage drama, which stars Knightley as an 18th century aristocrat stuck in a loveless marriage, earned $3.32 million.

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Box Office Grosses
Week Ending October 12, 2008

Rank Title Weekend Total Gross
1 Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008) $17.5M $52.5M
2 Quarantine (2008) $14.2M $14.2M
3 Body of Lies (2008) $13.1M $13.1M
4 Eagle Eye (2008) $11M $70.5M
5 Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008) $6.5M $20.8M
6 The Express (2008) $4.73M $4.73M
7 Nights in Rodanthe (2008) $4.61M $32.4M
8 Appaloosa (2008) $3.34M $10.9M
9 The Duchess (2008) $3.32M $5.62M
10 City of Ember (2008) $3.2M $3.2M