Paramount's Mission: Impossible III was the runaway winner over the weekendas expected but the estimated $48m three-day total fell far below expectations.

JJ Abrams' feature directorial debut averaged $11,872 on anextremely wide 4,054 screens yet didn't take as much as the previous instalmentin 2000, which opened on $57.8m. The 1996 original opened on $45.4m.

M:I:IIIinspired mostly good reviews. It of course stars Cruise once again as specialoperative Ethan Hunt. Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Hunt's nemesis,and Ving Rhames and Laurence Fishburne also star.

Meanwhile independently financed, ambitiously released ghost storyAn American Hauntingopened in third place through Freestyle Releasing on $6.4m, while New Line'schildren's tale Hoot floppedin ninth place on $3.4m.

AnAmerican Haunting stars DonaldSutherland, Sissy Spacek, Rachel Hurd-Wood and James D'Arcy and averaged $3,824on 1,668 screens. Courtney Solomon directed.

Hoot averaged$1,126 on 3,018 screens. Wil Shriner directed from Car Hiaasen's story aboutchildren who try to save an owl habitat from developers.

While M:I:III kicked off the summer in subdued fashion it was still enough totrump the box office from the same weekend last year. Overall the top 12grossed $99.4m, up 27% against 2005.

Elsewhere Sony's comedy RV slipped to second place and added $11.1m for $31m after twoweekends, Universal's United 93 ranks fifth on $20.1m after two, and TriStar's Silent Hill ranks seventh on $40.8m after three.

Next weekend's wide releases are Buena Vista's football saga Goal starring Kuno Becker and AlessandroNivola; Fox's romantic comedy Just My Luck starring Lindsay Lohan and Chris Pine; and Warner Bros'disaster movie Poseidon,which stars Josh Lucas and Kurt Russell.

Estimated Top Ten North America May 5-7 2006

Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date

1 (-) Mission: Impossible III (Paramount) UIP $48m -

2 (1) RV(Sony) SPRI $11.1m $31m

3 (-) An American Haunting (Freestyle) The Little Film Company $6.4m -

4 (3) Stick It (Buena Vista) BVI $5.5m $17.9m

5 (2) United 93 (Universal) UIP/StudioCanal $5.2m $20.1m

6 (7) Ice Age: The Meltdown (Fox) Fox Intl $4m $183.3m

7 (4) Silent Hill (TriStar) Focus Features $3.9m $40.8m

8 (5) Scary Movie 4 (TWC) BVI $3.4m $83.7m

9 (-) Hoot(New Line) NLI $3.4m -

10 (8) Akeelah And TheBee (Lionsgate) LFI $3.4m $10.7m