Box Office: Spy Kids Edges Out Spider

At the weekend box office, last week's No. 1 champ, Spy Kids, staved off several new films to — just barely — claim the top spot again.

The junior-league espionage adventure narrowly bested newcomer Along Came a Spider, winning by a mere $700,000, according to studio estimates.

Spider, based on the James Patterson book about detective Alex Cross (played by Morgan Freeman), debuted with an estimated $17.1 million, slightly improving on the $13.2 million 1997 debut of Kiss the Girls, which also starred Freeman as Cross.

Since Spider is set before Girls, Ashley Judd and her kick-boxing doctor character were missing from the new film. Taking over the female lead in Spider is the lesser-known Monica Potter, as an FBI agent who assists Cross in tracking a killer.

Judd appears elsewhere in the Top Five: in the romantic comedy Someone Like You, which fell to fifth place its second week out.

Spy Kids earned nearly twice as much as its only new kiddie-film competition, Pokémon 3: The Movie. Spy Kids took in $17.8 million, while the third feature-length cartoon about Pikachu and his friends earned $9.2 million. So far, the Robert Rodriguez-directed family action film has taken in $49 million. A sequel was OK'd by Miramax, which is distributing the film through its Dimension branch, even before the film opened.

Also new this weekend is Ted Demme's Blow, which stars Johnny Depp in the true tale of cocaine dealer George Jung, who imported the drug from Colombia to the United States in the 1970s. After movies with similar plots, like Traffic, Goodfellas, and Boogie Nights, many critics have dismissed the film as a "been there, snorted that" retread.

Blow opened with $12.5 million, making it Depp's best film debut after Sleepy Hollow's $30 million opening in 1999.

This week's other new wide release, Just Visiting, a remake of the French film Les Visiteurs, opened in 12th place with $2.3 million.

The Top 10 films for April 6-8, 2001: Spy Kids, $17.8 million Along Came a Spider, $17.1 million Blow, $12.5 million Pokémon 3: The Movie, $9.2 million Someone Like You, $5.5 million Heartbreakers, $5.1 million Enemy at the Gates, $3.5 million The Brothers, $3 million Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, $2.99 million Tomcats, $2.9 million

Final figures will be released Monday.