The anachronistic medieval jousting adventure A Knight's Tale was measured and found wanting compared to last week's box-office juggernaut, The Mummy Returns.
For the second week in a row, Brendan Fraser and company versus the evil mummy Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) topped the box office with an estimated $32.2 million, although its sales were down nearly 53 percent from its record-breaking first weekend.
A Knight's Tale, in which Aussie up-and-comer Heath Ledger proved his mettle in his first major starring role, debuted with $17 million to take the No. 2 spot.
The Mummy sequel now stands at $116.5 million after 10 days. The special effects extravaganza took only nine days to pass the $100 million mark.
According to Nikki Rocco, president of distribution at Universal Pictures, although it fell 53 percent in its second week, it is holding up better than recent hits like Mission: Impossible 2 and is on track to surpass $200 million.
Knight's Tale Told With Modern Music
A Knight's Tale, which is set in 14th century Europe but features 20th century music hits like Queen's "We Will Rock You," and David Bowie's "Golden Years," cost $41 million to make and is expected to gross more than $80 million, according to Jeff Blake, president of worldwide distribution and marketing at Sony Pictures Entertainment.
"I think this is the type of picture that audiences would certainly like if they get a chance to find it," said Blake referring to the full slate of big summer films, including Shrek which opens May 18 and Pearl Harbor which opens May 25.
Spy Kids Passes $100 Million
In a distant third this weekend was Bridget Jones's Diary with $4.5 million. Sylvester Stallone's racecar caper Driven, edged ahead of the cop thriller Along Came A Spider by a mere $15,000 according to studio's estimates. The films were ranked fourth and fifth, with a respective $3.015 million and $3 million each.
The children's thriller Spy Kids also passed the century mark on Saturday night. The Robert Rodriguez thriller was ranked No. 6 this weekend with $2.5 million, and has pulled in $101.5 million after 45 days.
Two limited release films climbed into the Top 10 for the first time: The twisty noir Memento rose three places to No. 9 with $1.2 million, while the spy tale The Tailor of Panama jumped five places to No. 10 with $800,000.
Memento, starring Guy Pearce as a man trying to find his wife's killer, has grossed $10.2 million after nine weeks, while The Tailor of Panama has taken in $10.5 million after seven weekends.
The Top 10 films for May 11-13: The Mummy Returns, $32.2 million A Knight's Tale, $17 million Bridget Jones's Diary, $4.5 million Driven, $3.015 million Along Came a Spider, $3 million Spy Kids, $2.5 million Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, $2.1 million Blow, $1.95 million Memento, $1.2 million The Tailor of Panama, $.8 million
Reuters contributed to this story.