Airborne thriller Snakes on a Plane has topped the North American box office in its first weekend on release.
Jackson plays an FBI agent escorting a witness to Los Angeles
But the film's modest takings of $15.3m (£8.1m) only took it marginally ahead of last week's champion, Will Ferrell's motor racing comedy Talladega Nights.
The Samuel L Jackson film was expected to perform better off the back of the wave of hype that preceded its release.
The $30m (£15.9m) action movie was released at the same time in the UK without being screened to critics.
The film's weekend tally includes $1.4m (£740,757) takings from preview screenings held on Thursday night, according to studio estimates.
If these are not taken into account, Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby is still the top film in the US and Canada.
Oliver Stone's 11 September drama World Trade Center held steady in third place with weekend takings of $10.8m (£5.7m).
NORTH AMERICAN BOX OFFICE
1. Snakes on a Plane
2. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
3. World Trade Center
5. Step Up
6. Barnyard: The Original Party Animals
7. Little Miss Sunshine
8. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
9. Material Girls (above)
Source: Exhibitor Relations
The comedy Accepted, about a teenager who sets up his own fake college after he fails to secure a place at a real one, made its debut at number four, earning $10.1m (£5.3m).
The only other new entry in this week's Top 10 is Material Girls, a comedy starring pop star Hilary Duff and her older sister Haylie.
The film opened in ninth place with weekend takings of $4.6m (£2.4m).
The Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, Dead Man's Chest, dropped two places to eight but remains the most profitable film in this week's rundown.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Johnny Depp movie has now made $923.8m (£488.6m) worldwide and is on course to break the $1bn barrier.