By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated January 24, 2003 02:22 PM
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It was a super Super Bowl weekend for “Darkness Falls,” as the horror movie debuted at No. 1 at the box office, taking in $12.5 million through Sunday, according to movie studio estimates.

Meanwhile, the musical “Chicago” registered No. 3 on the chart, but the Golden Globe-winning film earned an impressive per-screen average of $13,721. (Compare that “Darkness Falls,” whose per-screen average was $4,406, reports the Associated Press.)

In the case of “Chicago” — starring Globe winners Renee Zellweger and Richard Gere, as well as Catherine Zeta-Jones — that’s called momentum. So far, the picture, which cost $45 million to make, has pulled in $40.6 million and is a likely candidate for Academy Award nominations when they’re announced Feb. 11.

In other weekend box-office news, George Clooney’s directing debut “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” starring Sam Rockwell as “Gong Show” guru Chuck Barris, cracked the Top 10 in its first weekend of wide release after a limited debut in December in order to qualify for the Oscars.

The entire Top 10, according to studio estimates, is as follows:

1. “Darkness Falls,” $12.5 million
2. “Kangaroo Jack,” $11.9 million
3. “Chicago,” $8.5 million
4. “Just Married,” $7.5 million
5. “National Security,” $7.4 million
6. “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,” $6.9 million
7. “Catch Me If You Can,” $6.6 million
8. “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” $6 million
9. “About Schmidt,” $5.5 million
10. “The Hours,” $4 million