Low-budget horror remake When a Stranger Calls proved to be the most popular film in the US over the traditionally quiet Super Bowl weekend.
Camilla Belle plays a terrified teenager in When a Stranger Calls
The movie, which cost only $15m (£8.5m) to produce, took $22m (£12.5m) at the box office.
It knocked last week's number one, Big Momma's House 2, into second place.
Brokeback Mountain's eight Oscar nominations helped reignite cinema-goers' interest, going back up the chart two places to number four.
Walk the Line also benefited from Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon's nominations from the Academy for playing Johnny Cash and his wife, rising three places to number nine.
At the worldwide box office, which excludes North America, Steven Spielberg's Oscar nominated Munich was the biggest draw of the weekend for the second week running, taking $13.3m (£7.5m) from 40 countries, Screen Daily said.
Memoirs of a Geisha took $9m (£5.1m) in 30 countries, following its six Academy Award nominations.
Walk the Line received the third largest worldwide receipts of the weekend, according to Screen International, with $7.9m (£4.4m)
NORTH AMERICAN TOP FIVE
1. When a Stranger Calls
2. Big Momma's House 2
3. Nanny McPhee
4. Brokeback Mountain
Source: Exhibitor Relations
When a Stranger Calls is a remake of a 1979 film about a high school babysitter who receives increasingly taunting telephone calls.
The new version features a cast of largely unknown actors and is directed by British film-maker Simon West, whose previous credits include Con Air and The General's Daughter.
The Super Bowl weekend is notoriously difficult for distributors as many families stay home to see the game, which is the most-watched TV broadcast of the year.
The only other new release was romantic comedy Something New, about finding love, which entered the chart at number seven with takings of $5m (£2.8m).