LOS ANGELES -- Matthew McConaughey's ''Sahara" heated up the weekend box office, with the action flick set in the African desert debuting at the top with $18.5 million.
Audiences gave a cooler reception to ''Fever Pitch," the weekend's other new wide release. The Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon baseball romance set in Boston opened in third place with a so-so $13 million, according to studio estimates yesterday.
The previous weekend's No. 1 movie, ''Sin City," slipped to second place with $14.1 million, increasing its 10-day total to $50.7 million.
In limited release, Stephen Chow's raucous action comedy ''Kung Fu Hustle" had a big opening with $293,025 in seven theaters, averaging a whopping $41,861 per cinema.
''Sahara," adapted from Clive Cussler's adventure novel, stars McConaughey, Penelope Cruz, and Steve Zahn as adventurers who turn up a long-lost Civil War vessel in the desert and try to stop a plague spreading through Africa.
''Fever Pitch," directed by the Farrelly brothers from Nick Hornby's memoir about his sports obsession, stars Barrymore as a career woman who stumbles into a relationship with a man whose world revolves around the Red Sox.
''It may have alienated guys with too much romance, and it may have alienated women with too much baseball," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.