By Bill Wine

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Last week it was a tantalizingly close second.  This week it’s a photo-finish first.

It’s Safe House, the Denzel Washington-Ryan Reynolds action thriller, which eked out a first-place finish in its second weekend of release by earning an estimated $24-million.

That put it ever-so-slightly ahead of the film that barely topped it last weekend, the romantic drama, The Vow, which totaled just under $24-million.

Finishing a strong third was one of the weekend’s new attractions, the debuting sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, starring Nicolas Cage. It took in $22-million.

The weekend’s two other new attractions also placed in the top ten.

This Means War, the romantic action comedy featuring Reese Witherspoon, was fifth with $18-million.

And the animated adventure, The Secret World of Arrietty, came in ninth with $6-million.

Overall, winter business remains brisk, with industry-wide totals about ten percent ahead of those on the counterpart weekend last year.

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