'The Santa Clause 2' delivers No. 1 ranking at box office

— Flying reindeer beat flying fists as "The Santa Clause 2" debuted as the weekend's top move, trouncing "I Spy."

"The Santa Clause 2," with Tim Allen returning as the North Pole's No. 1 elf, collected $29 million, more than double the opening numbers for Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson's action comedy, according to studio estimates Sunday. "I Spy," loosely based on the 1960s TV series, opened a weak third with $14 million.

The horror movie "The Ring" held up well, remaining No. 2 with $18.5 million and raising its 17-day total to $64.9 million. Last weekend's top flick, "Jackass: The Movie," fell to fourth place with $13.1 million.

"Santa Clause 2" distributor Disney opened the 1994 original two weeks before Thanksgiving. That time slot this year was taken by "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," forcing Disney to move up the sequel's release date.

"Kids don't care. They want Santa Claus to come early, so they're happy whenever he shows up," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday:

1. "The Santa Clause 2," $29 million.

2. "The Ring," $18.5 million.

3. "I Spy," $14 million.

4. "Jackass: The Movie," $13.1 million.

5. "Ghost Ship," $6.6 million.

6. "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," $5.6 million.

7. "Sweet Home Alabama," $4.6 million.

8. "Punch-Drunk Love," $4.2 million.

9. "Red Dragon," $2.7 million.

10. "Brown Sugar," $1.7 million.

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