"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: the Secret of the Ooze" easily fended off all challengers for the third straight week with a $7.8 million gross during the Friday-through-Sunday weekend.

The sequel, shown at 3,010 theaters, has chomped down an impressive 17-day total of $54.1 million but posted sharp declines from the $20 million it snapped up during its premiere weekend. So the new version of the terrapins' tales probably will not match the $135 million taken in last year by the original.Two adult-oriented comedies - "The Marrying Man" and "Defending Your Life" - posted adequate openings over the weekend, finishing in third and fifth, respectively.

"The Marrying Man," starring Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin in an eight-year on-again, off-again romance, grossed $4.03 million at 1,340 screens after getting hit with dismal reviews.

"Defending Your Life," starring Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks meeting in a place called Judgment City, drew $3.3 million at 689 screens as it moved into wide release. It has a 17-day gross of $3.6 million.

Orion's "Silence of the Lambs" remained in second place for the third week with $4.8 million at 1,627 theaters. Despite its graphic violence and cannibalism, "Silence" shows no signs of a major drop-off and has an impressive 53-day take of $94.4 million.

"Dances With Wolves" continued to receive a boost from winning seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and drew $4.01 million at 1,636 screens for fourth place. "Dances," the biggest grosser ever for troubled Orion, passed the $150 million benchmark over the weekend.

The week's top 10:

1. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2," $7.8 million ($54.1 million, three weeks).

2. "Silence of the Lambs," $4.8 million ($94.1 million, eight weeks).

3. "The Marrying Man," $4.03 million (first week).

4. "Dances With Wolves," $4.01 million ($151 million, 22 weeks).

5. "Defending Your Life," $3.3 million ($3.6 million, three weeks).

6. "New Jack City," $2.9 million ($32.5 million, five weeks).

7. "Sleeping With the Enemy," $2.5 million ($82.9 million, nine weeks).

8. "Class Action," $2.04 million ($17.5 million, four weeks).

9. "Home Alone," $1.95 million ($260.1 million, 21 weeks).

10. "Career Opportunities," $1.89 million ($7.4 million, two weeks).