“Paul Blart: Mall Cop”, the Kevin James comedy about a lovable security guard who struggles to save his mall from criminals, scored $21.5 million at the box office and the number one spot for the second week in a row, according to estimates released today. The light comedy by Sony has grossed $64.8 million in its two weeks of release, and continues to surprise critics.

“Underworld: Rise of the Lycans”, a prequel to the Underworld series that explores the history of a war between vampires and werewolves, was not far behind, earning $20.7 million and taking the number two spot for the weekend. The horror film’s two predecessors – “Underworld” and “Underworld: Evolution” – earned $21.7 million and $26.8 million, respectively, in their opening weekends.

The Clint Eastwood Academy Award nominated “Gran Torino” continued its ride in the top five, scoring almost $16 million for third place, while the family comedy “Hotel for Dogs” took fourth place with $12.4 million. “Slumdog Millionaire”, the runaway hit about a game-show contestant from the slums of Mumbai, earned $10.6 million this weekend after the film, which has now made nearly $56 million, received Academy Award nominations.

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” re-entered the Top 10, earning $6 million to boost its total to $111 million. The film, starring Brad Pitt as a man aging backward toward infancy, landed 13 Oscar nominations, including best actor for Pitt. “The Wrestler” and “Frost/Nixon” also drew big crowds this weekend after their nominations from the Academy.

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Box Office Grosses
Week Ending January 25, 2009

Rank Title Weekend Total Gross
1 Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009) $21.5M $64.8M
2 Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009) $20.7M $20.7M
3 Gran Torino (2008) $16M $97.6M
4 Hotel for Dogs (2009) $12.4M $37M
5 Slumdog Millionaire (2008) $10.6M $55.9M
6 My Bloody Valentine (2009) $10.1M $37.8M
7 Inkheart (2008) $7.72M $7.72M
8 Bride Wars (2009) $7M $48.7M
9 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) $6M $111M
10 Notorious (2009) $5.7M $31.8M