However, the R-rated action film's three-day ticket sales of $20.7 million did little to stem a prolonged box office slump, which entered its third week after a brief respite.
The total box office take for the top 12 films was down 16 percent over the same weekend last year, when the horror movie "Alien vs. Predator" reaped a three-day gross of $38 million.
"It was a fairly unremarkable weekend at the box office," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office-tracker Exhibitor Relations. "August usually is a slowdown month."
Box office revenues slumped for 19-straight weeks until being lifted briefly last month with the help of hits such as "Fantastic Four."
The supernatural thriller "The Skeleton Key," starring Kate Hudson, came in second with $15.8 million. The big screen remake of the TV show "The Dukes of Hazzard" fell 58 percent in its second week, but that was good enough for third place with $13 million.
The other debut in wide release, the gross-out sequel "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo," finished a distant fifth with $9.4 million.
"Four Brothers," directed by Singleton and distributed by Paramount, stars Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Andre Benjamin (Andre 3000 of OutKast) and Garrett Hedlund as adopted siblings reunited in grief and anger after their mother is slain.
"Deuce Bigalow," starring Rob Schneider, did worse than the first film, which opened with $12.2 million in 1999. But that movie went on to earn $65 million domestically, giving hope to distributor Sony.
The Morgan Freeman-narrated documentary "March of the Penguins" continued to do well, dropping only one spot and bringing its cumulative ticket sales to $37.6 million.
The other new release this weekend, "The Great Raid," from Miramax, earned $3.4 million. Half of the World War II tale's audience was over age 50, unusual for an industry that strains to appeal to a younger audience.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Four Brothers," $20.7 million
2. "The Skeleton Key," $15.8 million
3. "The Dukes of Hazzard," $13 million
4. "Wedding Crashers," $12 million
5. "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo," $9.4 million
6. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," $7.3 million
7. "March of the Penguins," $6.7 million.
8. "Sky High," $6.1 million
9. "Must Love Dogs," $4.6 million
10. "The Great Raid," $3.4 million