Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman narrowly took the No. 1 spot at the weekend box office in North America with their comedy "The Bucket List," according to studio estimates issued Sunday.
The Warner Bros. release, in which the Oscar-winning duo play cancer patients who decide to spend their last days on a high note, earned $19.5 million during the three days beginning Friday.
It expanded across the United States and Canada after playing for two weekends in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. Sales stand at almost $21 million.
The film marks the best opening for director Rob Reiner, surpassing the $15.5 million bow of "A Few Good Men" in 1992, said Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner.
New at No. 2 was "First Sunday," a comedy starring Ice Cube, a rapper now carving out a lucrative career in family movies. The film earned $19 million.
Ice Cube, a veteran of the "Friday" and "Barbershop" movies, plays a ne'er-do-well who decides to rob a church. Tracy Morgan and Katt Williams co-star. The film was released by Screen Gems, the low-budget arm of Sony's Columbia Pictures.
The teen pregnancy comedy "Juno" slipped one place to No. 3 with $14 million, taking its total to $71.25 million after six weeks.
The award season favorite is a day away from surpassing 2004's "Sideways" ($71.5 million) to become the most successful film for Fox Searchlight, News Corp.'s art-house distributor.
After three weekends at No. 1, Walt Disney's "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" fell to No. 4 with $11.5 million, taking its total to $187.3 million.
The 20th Century Fox children's movie "Alvin and the Chipmunks" slipped one spot to No. 5 with $9.1 million, and a total of $187.7 million after four weeks.