This week’s Oscar nominations resulted in major jumps for this year’s awards contenders, but the lowest common denominator still ruled the box office. Paul Blart: Mall Cop took the top spot for the second week in a row with $21.5 million, putting it on track to cross the $100 million mark with ease and take the title of 2009’s first big blockbuster. Gross. Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans debuted close behind at No. 2 with $20.7 million, bumping Gran Torino down to No. 3. That film’s $16 million take puts it within spitting distance of $100 million. Hotel For Dogs posted a relatively small decline—to the tune of 27 percent—but actually moved up a spot to No. 4 with $12.36 million.

The biggest beneficiary of the Oscar noms was Slumdog Millionaire, which rose to No. 5 from No. 10 after an expansion of more than 800 theaters. In addition to taking in $10.55 million, Slumdog also earned the highest per-screen average in the top 10. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button saw an uptick as well, though not as dramatic, due in part to its much wider initial distribution: After dropping out of the top 10 in its fourth week, the film’s 13 Oscar nods—and subsequent 40 theater adds—helped move it back up to No. 9 with $6 million.

Two of last week’s strong debuts, My Bloody Valentine 3D and Notorious saw precipitous declines in their sophomore frames: The former dropped 53 percent to No. 6 with $10.05 million, while the latter plummeted 72 percent all the way down to No. 10 (from No. 4) with $5.7 million. New release Inkheart (No. 7 with $7.73 million) and the maddeningly resilient Bride Wars (No. 8 with $7 million) round out the top 10.


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