Title notwithstanding, Failure to Launch had no trouble getting off the pad.

The romantic comedy teaming of Sex and the City gal Sarah Jessica Parker and Sexiest Man Alive Matthew McConaughey generated $24.4 million to nail the top slot at the box office in a big weekend for new films.

Disney's Tim Allen-led retread of The Shaggy Dog bounded into second place with $16.3 million, while another remake, The Hills Have Eyes, scared up $15.7 million in third place, a record sum for a Fox Searchlight release.

A PG-13 Paramount release, Failure to Launch costars Kathy Bates and ex-NFLer Terry Bradshaw as exasperated parents who hire a woman (Parker) to get their philandering son (McConaughey) out of their house, with predictable results. Overcoming weak reviews the film averaged an above-expectations $7,985 at 3,057 sites.

While not exactly a dog, Disney's update of the 1959 werepooch kiddie classic (which also inspired 1976 sequel, The Shaggy D.A.) could only muster an average of $4,659 at 3,501 sites. That lagged behind the surprising $5,996 average for The Hills Have Eyes, director's Alexandre Aje update of Wes Craven's nuclear-powered 1977 frightfest. Opening at just 2,620 theaters, the gore-filled flick saw its business jump 9 percent on Saturday, suggesting it may terrorizing multiplexes for a while.

In more limited release, the Weinstein Co.'s R-rated The Libertine, in which Johnny Depp rots away as a famous Restoration era rake and John Malkovich plays his chum, England's playboy King Charles II, averaged $2,703 at just 815 sites for $2.2 million in 11th place.

Meanwhile, the rerelease of Crash didn't have much impact. The film's been available on DVD since September and sold nearly 4 million copies, and despite an upset Best Picture Oscar win, it barely stirred up much interest, taking in $342,709 at 175 sites (an average of just $1,958 per) to bring its overall theatrical gross to $53.7 million.

To put things in perspective, Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion has earned more than that in just three weeks, with $55.7 million. The PG-13 Lionsgate release added another $5.7 million its coffers from Friday to Sunday, down 55 percent from its top slot last weekend.

Last weekend's runner-up, Bruce Willis' cop caper 16 Blocks, only fell off 37 percent. The PG-13 Warners release earned $7.4 million in fourth place, bringing its two-week gross to $22.8 million. There was even better news for Warners' G-rated big-screen documentary Deep Sea 3-D, which gained 3 percent in its second week. In 44 sites, the eye-popping look at ocean creatures earned $712,483 to bring its haul to $1.7 million.

In very limited release, the top per-screen newcomer was Ask the Dust, director Robert Towne's adaptation of John Fante's novel about Depression-era Los Angeles starring Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek. The R-rated Paramount release averaged $9,826 at just seven locations for $68,779.

Duck Season, an R-rated coming-of-age import from Mexico released by Warner Independent, averaged $4,110 at six locations for $24,658.

Business overall was up 12 percent from the lackluster take last weekend, but the combined $93.3 million gross for the top 12 movies was still down 10 percent from last year.

Here's a recap of the top 10 films based on final figures compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

1. Failure to Launch, $24.4 million
2. The Shaggy Dog, $16.3 million
3. The Hills Have Eyes, $15.7 million
4. 16 Blocks, $7.4 million
5. Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion, $5.7 million
6. Eight Below, $5.6 million
7. Aquamarine, $3.9 million
8. Ultraviolet, $3.68 million
8. The Pink Panther, $3.65 million
10. Date Movie, $2.5 million

(Originally published Mar. 12, 2006 at 12:30 p.m. PT.)

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