Has a new Easter tradition been born? ''The Passion of the Christ,'' which was expected to see a holiday-weekend box office boost, surged back to the top of the chart in its seventh weekend with a fantastic $17.1 million take, according to studio estimates.
That's the second-highest seventh weekend ever (behind, of course, ''Titanic'') and a 61 percent increase from its $10.6 million gross last weekend. Mel Gibson's film -- with a total of $354.9 million -- is now the No. 8 top grosser of all time, less than $3 million behind No. 7, ''Jurassic Park.'' At this rate, ''The Passion'' should become only the sixth film in history to earn more than $400 million domestically.
Second place went to ''Hellboy,'' which dropped 52 percent in its second weekend to $11.1 million. After 10 days, the comic-book-based flick has earned $41.1 million.
Two new films tied for third place: ''The Alamo'' and Cedric the Entertainer's ''Johnson Family Vacation,'' both with $9.2 million. (''Johnson'' has grossed $11.6 million since opening last Wednesday.) It's a disappointing showing for ''The Alamo,'' which was originally supposed to debut last December.
The Rock's ''Walking Tall'' completed the top five, plummeting 54 percent to $8.3 million in its second weekend. But the biggest losers of the weekend were the three other new wide releases. ''The Whole Nine Yards'' placed 8th with $6.7 million, ''Ella Enchanted'' was 9th with $6.1 million, and ''The Girl Next Door'' came in 10th with $6 million. During this holy weekend, people apparently didn't have comedy on their minds.