By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated March 18, 2002 11:26 AM

The computer-generated feature “Ice Age” had a spectacular opening weekend — the third-best debut ever for an animated film, according to industry reports. (It was bettered only by “Monsters, Inc.,” which took in $62.6 million in its first weekend, and the $57.4 million brought in by “Toy Story 2,” notes the Associated Press. Last year’s top animated film, “Shrek,” made $42.4 million its first weekend before going on to gross $267.7 million, making it the No. 2 all-time animated film, behind “The Lion King.”) Ray Romano and Denis Leary are among those who provided voices for “Ice Age.” By contrast, the teaming of Eddie Murphy and Robert De Niro, in “Showtime,” only managed to make it to the No. 3 spot, behind the horror picture “Resident Evil,” which was a distant No. 2 to “Ice Age.” Last weekend’s No. 1, “The Time Machine,” slid to No. 4, with Mel Gibson’s 3-week-old “We Were Soldiers” following that. The Top 10 movies at the box office this weekend, according to studio estimates, are as follows:

1. “Ice Age,” $47.9 million
2. “Resident Evil,” $18.2 million
3. “Showtime,” $15.4 million
5. “We Were Soldiers,” $8.8 million
6. “All About the Benjamins,” $4.9 million
7. “40 Days and 40 Nights,” $4.6 million
8. “John Q,” $3.7 million
9. “A Beautiful Mind,” $3.4 million
10. “Return to Never Land,” $2.3 million