Dimension's Scary Movie 4 stormed to the top of the North American box office andrecorded the biggest Easter weekend in history as it took an estimated $41mover three days. It is the first specactular opening for the independentcompany since it separated from Disney and resumed business under The WeinsteinCompany's stand-alone structure.

The latest instalment in the spoof horror franchise mostlikely extended the series' lifespan, a possibility that was not denied byDimension Films chief Bob Weinstein on Sunday morning.

"To have this film cross $40m in its opening weekend wasbeyond our expectations and we're thrilled," Weinstein said."Hopefully we'll hit $100m for this fourth instalment."

The picture beat the previous best Easter weekend record set by PanicRoom's $30.1m in 2002and averaged $11,388 on 2,602 screens. The highest opening for the franchiseremains Scary Movie 3's$48.1m in October 2003.

David Zucker's romp stars Carmen Electra, Anna Farris,Regina Hall, and Craig Bierko.

Disney's animated family tale The Wild opened to poor reviews in fourth place on$9.6m, averaging 3,349 on 2,854 screens.

Steve Williams' picture was directed by and features the voicetalents of Kiefer Sutherland, James Belushi, Eddie Izzard, and JaneaneGarofalo.

Fox's Ice Age: The Meltdown slipped to second place on $20m for $147.2m after threeweekends, while Universal's Inside Man ranked sixth on $75.3m after four weekends.

Meanwhile Fox Searchlight's satirical Thank You For Smoking is slowly climbing its way into thepublic consciousness following its limited release five weekends ago. It added$4.5m for an impressive total of $11.5m.

Overall the top 12 titles combined for $110m, up 23% against thesame weekend last year.

Next weekend's wide releases are 20th Century Fox's thriller TheSentinel starringMichael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland; Sony TriStar's horror title SilentHill starring RadhaMitchell; and Universal's comedy American Dreamz, which stars Hugh Grant, Dennis Quaidand Mandy Moore.

Estimated Top Ten North America Apr 14-16 2006
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (-) Scary Movie 4(Dimension) BVI $41m -
2 (1) Ice Age: The Meltdown (Fox) Fox Intl $20m $147.2m
3 (2) The Benchwarmers(Sony/Revolution) SPRI $10m $35.9m
4 (-) The Wild(Disney) BVI $9.6m -
5 (3) Take The Lead (NewLine) NLI $6.7m $22.5m
6 (4) Inside Man(Universal) UIP $6.3m $75.3m
7 (5) Lucky Number Slevin (MGM/TWC) Capitol Films $4.6m $14.1m
8 (10) Thank You For Smoking (Fox Searchlight) Fox Int'l/Contentfilm $4.5m $11.5m
9 (6) Failure To Launch(Paramount) UIP $2.6m $83.2m
10 (8) V For Vendetta(Warner Bros) WBPI $2.2m $65.9m