National Treasure: Book of Secrets

, with Nicolas Cage back to star in the sequel to Disney's 2004 surprise hit, unlocked the wallets of moviegoers over the weekend and came away with enough loot to lead box-office sweepstakes with a take of $45.5 million.

I Am Legend

, with Will Smith as the embattled survivor of a virus epidemic that turns most humans into zombies, slipped to second place, with very undead receipts of $34.2 million and a total 10-day gross of $137.5 mil.

Cuteness copped third place, with

Alvin and the Chipmunks

stuffing $29 million into their furry cheeks to carry back to the nest.

Charlie Wilson's War

, a political comedy of intrigue and audacity starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams, occupied the fourth position on its debut weekend, pulling in $9.6 million.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

, Tim Burton's bloody melange of music and murder starring Johnny Depp, pulled in $9.35 million in its initial weekend, while playing in 1,249 theaters, about half as many as

Charlie Wilson's War

.

Re-gifted performance

One of TV's most joyous and enduring Christmas traditions has become a casualty of the writers strike. Every year at this time,

Darlene Love

appears on David Letterman's

Late Show

to perform a roof-raising rendition of her

Phil Spector

classic, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)." Letterman has called it his favorite part of the holiday season. Tonight was scheduled to be the 22d consecutive year for this annual treat. The strike has put the kibosh on that. Instead, CBS will show a repeat tomorrow night of Love singing "Christmas" on Dec. 22 last year. But to Letterman lovers, that's like canned egg nog - it's not as refreshing.

YouTubing the Queen

Queen Elizabeth II, 81, launched her own special Royal Channel on YouTube yesterday:

.

The queen will use the popular video-sharing Web site to send out her 50th annual televised Christmas message, which she first delivered live to the nation and its colonies on Dec. 25, 1957.

Buckingham Palace also began posting archive and recent footage of the queen and other royals on the channel, with plans to add new clips regularly.

YouTube, which allows anyone to upload and share video clips, was founded in 2005 and bought by Google last year.

They'll be home for Christmas

You can deck the halls next year in a home now owned by hip-hop star

Kanye West

, reports the Los Angeles Times.

All you have to do is come up with $8.7 million. That's what the rapper is asking for his house in the flats of Beverly Hills. West and his bride-to-be, fashion designer

Alexis Phifer

, 31, decided that the traditional-style, 3,300-square-foot manse, which the singer bought this year for about $7.2 million, didn't fit into their plans for their life together.

And - get this - West considers the place a tear down. Meet the asking price, and you get plans for a two-story contemporary that West had planned to have built in place of the existing six-bedroom, four-bathroom residence, constructed in 1921.

West, 30, received eight Grammy nominations, including an album-of-the-year nod, for

Graduation

, for February's 50th annual awards.

Mr. Bean backs up

British comedian

Rowan Atkinson

, the bumbling Mr. Bean of TV and movie fame, did a very Bean-like thing Thursday in Colorado: He backed his SUV into a car in Aspen.

"He was backing out of a parking spot and didn't see the car behind him," a police rep said. "There was a little bit of damage to the car. He put a ding in it." The damage was minor, and no citations were issued.

Contact "SideShow" at sideshow@phillynews.com.

This column contains information

from Inquirer wire services.