Hollywood's love for a second act and filmgoers' capacity for forgivenessrendered Mel Gibson's arrest for drunk driving and subsequent anti-semitictirade four months ago a distant memory as Apocalypto opened top at the North American box office this weekend.
Gibson's R-rated Mayan epic, released in North America throughBuena Vista, launched on a relatively limp $14.2m on 2,465 screens, yet it was enoughto beat Sony's new romantic comedy The Holiday into second place.
That film, starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black andJude Law, grossed $13.5m, while last weekend's champion Happy Feet ranked third for Warner Bros on $12.7mfor $137.7m after four.
Sony's Casino Royale fell to fourth place in its fourth weekend and has now amassed$128.9m. Warner Bros' thriller Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio, DjimonHounsou and Jennifer Connelly opened in fifth place on a disappointing $8.5m,one place ahead of the same studio's new family film Unaccompanied Minors on $6.2m.
Overall it was a slow weekend as the top 12 films combined for$86.8m, down 25% against the same weekend last year when The Chronicle Of Narniaopened on $65.6m.
Next weekend's wide releases are: Fox's fantasy adventure Eragonstarring Jeremy Ironsand Edward Speleers; Paramount's family film Charlotte's Web starring Dakota Fanning; Paramount'smusical Dreamgirlsstarring Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Hudson and Jamie Foxx; and Sony's drama ThePursuit Of Happynessstarring Will Smith, Jaden Smith and Thandie Newton.
Estimated Top Ten North America Dec 8-10, 2006
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekendgross/Estimated total to date
1 (-) Apocalypto (Buena Vista) Icon International $14.2m -
2 (-) The Holiday (Sony) Universal $13.5m -
3 (1) Happy Feet (Warner Bros) $12.7m $137.7m
4 (2) Casino Royale (Sony) SPRI $8.8m $128.9m
5 (-) Blood Diamond (Warner Bros) WBPI $8.5m -
6 (-) Unaccompanied Minors (Warner Bros) WBPI $6.2m -
7 (3) Deja Vu (Buena Vista) BVI $6.1m $53m
8 (4) The Nativity Story (New Line) NLI $5.4m $15.5m
9 (5) Deck The Halls (Fox) Fox Int'l $3.9m $30.1m
10 (6) The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (Buena Vista) BVI $3.3m $77.2m