Paramount and DreamWorks' "Blades of Glory," with Ferrell and Heder playing figure-skating rivals who become the sport's first men's pair, debuted as the No. 1 movie with $33 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Disney's animated adventure "Meet the Robinsons," about the time-traveling journey of a brilliant but lonely orphan, debuted in second place with $25.1 million.
The previous weekend's top movie, the Warner Bros. animated tale "TMNT," a revival of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle" franchise, slipped to fourth place with $9.2 million, down a steep 62 percent from its $24.3 million debut. "TMNT" raised its 10-day total to $38.4 million.
After a month-long surge, the overall box office declined. The top 12 movies took in $115 million, down 13 percent from the same weekend last year, when "Ice Age: The Meltdown" opened with $68 million.
"This is still a good weekend, a pretty healthy one-two punch with 'Blades of Glory' and 'Meet the Robinsons' at the top," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers.
Movie attendance is up 4 percent so far this year, Dergarabedian said.
Teaming with "Napoleon Dynamite" star Heder on "Blades of Glory," Ferrell scored the second-best opening of his career, behind last summer's "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," which took in $47 million in its first weekend.
"It starts with a great concept, and the whole picture was cast so well," said DreamWorks spokesman Marvin Levy. "Another part of the surprise was, we got a ton of very, very good reviews."
"Meet the Robinsons" played in about 3,400 theaters and did especially well in a 3-D version at 600 cinemas, said Chuck Viane, head of distribution for Disney. The studio did not have a precise breakdown, but cinemas reported that screens playing the 3-D version pulled in about double the grosses of theaters running the regular 2-D version, Viane said.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Blades of Glory," $33 million.
2. "Meet the Robinsons," $25.1 million.
3. "300," $11.2 million.
4. "TMNT," $9.2 million.
5. "Wild Hogs," $8.4 million.
6. "Shooter," $8 million.
7. "Premonition," $5.1 million.
8. "The Last Mimzy," $4 million.
9. "The Hills Have Eyes 2," $3.9 million.
10. "Reign Over Me," $3.7 million.
Universal Pictures and Focus Features are owned by NBC Universal, a joint venture of General Electric Co. and Vivendi Universal; Sony Pictures, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; DreamWorks, Paramount and Paramount Vantage are divisions of Viacom Inc.; Disney's parent is The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is a division of The Walt Disney Co.; 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox Atomic are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros., New Line, Warner Independent and Picturehouse are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a consortium of Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Sony Corp., Comcast Corp., DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and Quadrangle Group; Lionsgate is owned by Lionsgate Entertainment Corp.; IFC Films is owned by Rainbow Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp.