"The Pink Panther" -- starring Steve Martin as well-known French Inspector Clouseau, Beyoncé Knowles and Kevin Kline -- took the top spot at the weekend box office. The Sony Pictures film, produc

"The Pink Panther" -- starring Steve Martin as well-known French Inspector Clouseau, Beyoncé Knowles and Kevin Kline -- took the top spot at the weekend box office. The Sony Pictures film, produced by MGM and directed by Shawn Levy, sleuthed an estimated $21.7 million.

"Martin is an amazing Clouseau," said Sony Pictures Releasing president Rory Bruer about the actor's portrayal of the role originated by the late Peter Sellers. "And he worked really hard to make this movie a success." Asked whether a sequel was in the offing, Bruer said, "I'd bet on it."

Knowles portrays Xania, the seductive girlfriend of a murdered famous soccer coach, while Kline steps into the role of Chief Inspector Dreyfus.

As previously reported, Knowles will next be seen in the big screen adaptation of the Broadway show "Dreamgirls" and is planning her second solo album, and first since the demise of Destiny's Child. The group is planning one more performance as a trio, singing the National Anthem Sunday (Feb. 19) prior to the 2006 National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Game in Houston.

"Final Destination 3" (New Line Cinema) took second place for the weekend with an estimated $20.1 million, follwed by Universal Pictures' "Curious George" with an estimated $15.3 million. The G-rated animated film boasts a soundtrack filled with songs by surfer-turned-musician Jack Johnson.

With Oscar nominations not as fresh in the minds of moviegoers, some Academy Awards contenders remained in the top 10, including the Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line." The film, which stars best actor nominee Joaquin Phoenix and best actress nominee Reese Witherspoon, ranked No. 8 for the weekend, with an estimated $2 million bringing the film's total gross to about $113.7 million.