Rising star Colin Farrell made it three No. 1 films in a row, as his thriller ''Phone Booth'' made a strong connection the box office this weekend, opening with $15 million, according to studio estimates. This follows the chart-topping debuts of his last two films, January's ''The Recruit'' and February's ''Daredevil.''
Overall, the weekend's ticket receipts were down 10 percent from this weekend last year. But ''Phone Booth'''s figure nearly matched the $16.3 million ''The Recruit'' earned in its first weekend. While the film made back its small budget in only three days, its C+ grade from CinemaScore audiences doesn't bode well for its staying power.
On the other hand, the weekend's runner-up, ''What a Girl Wants,'' premiered with $12.1 million and a solid A rating from CinemaScore. The teen comedy, starring Nickelodeon fixture Amanda Bynes, wasn't able to match the $22.9 million take of 2001's similarly themed ''The Princess Diaries.'' But its positive audience response should result in small dropoffs in the weeks to come.
Third place went to Vin Diesel's drug drama ''A Man Apart,'' which opened with $11.2 million, much better than the single-digit debut of his last film, ''Knockaround Guys.'' But it still seems that Diesel is a much bigger draw when his movies have the letter ''X'' in their titles.
Rounding out the top five were last week's highest-grossing films: Chris Rock's ''Head of State'' slipped 35 percent in its second weekend to $8.8 million, while Steve Martin and Queen Latifah continued their terrific run with ''Bringing Down the House,'' which declined 32 percent to $8.5 million. The comedy has now racked up $111.3 million at the box office. Surely sequel-happy Disney will try to locate another house for the pair to bring down.