PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Attendance at Contagion was apparently contagious.

Director Steven Soderbergh’s new disaster thriller about a lethal virus (featuring Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, and Laurence Fishburne) finished first at the box office, earning an estimated $23-million in its weekend debut.

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A distant second was the box-office leader of the last three weeks — the holdover hit, The Help, which took in another $9-million and has now passed the $137-million mark.

Third place went to Warrior, the debuting mixed martial arts drama with Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte. It earned just under $6-million.

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The Debt and Colombiana rounded out the top five.

Overall, it was a characteristically slow early-September weekend at the nation’s multiplexes.

Reported by Bill Wine, KYW Newsradio 1060

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