TheChronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe was the runaway winner at the weekend box officefollowing a resounding $67.1m estimated launch on 3,616 screens.
Theemphatic debut was matched internationally, where $42m from 13 territoriessuggests the CS Lewis adaptation will enjoy a healthy worldwide run in thecoming weeks.
Withanother guaranteed smash coming this week when Universal's King Kong opens on Wednesday, the domestic box office blues maynot look so bad by year's end. The top 12 titles combined for $117.8m, up 17%against the same weekend last year.
InNarnia, the first title of sevenCS Lewis' Narnia stories, four children access an enchanted land through awardrobe and discover it is their destiny to save the mysterious world.
AndrewAdamson of Shrek fame directedthe critically acclaimed picture, which stars Tilda Swinton, Skandar Keynes,Georgie Henley and Jim Broadbent and averaged a mighty $18,546 on 3,616screens.
WarnerBros' thriller Syriana expandedwide in its third weekend and climbed 17 places to second on $12m for a $13.5mrunning total.
Narniadeposed Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire for the first time in that picture's four-week-run.The Warner Bros release fell two places to third on $10.3m for $244.1m and willfall some way short of the best domestic performer in the franchise, whichremains The Sorcerer's Stone on$317.6m.
GobletOf Fire should overtake PrisonerOf Azkaban's $249.5m within the weekto become the third biggest domestic performer in the franchise. Chamber OfSecrets grossed $261.9m.
ElsewhereFox's Walk The Line ranks fourthon $77m after four weekends, Paramount's Yours, Mine And Ours ranks fifth on just over $40m after three, and FocusFeatures' Pride & Prejudiceranks eighth on $26.4m after five.
Sony/DreamWorks/Spyglass'Memoirs Of A Geisha and Focus' BrokebackMountain both scored excellentlimited openings, and will both expand wide in the coming weeks.
Geisha opened to generally unenthusiastic reviews on$674,000 in eight theatres, while Brokeback, which was voted best feature by the Los Angelescritics this weekend, dazzled critics nationwide and generated $544,549 infive.
Nextweekend's wide release is Universal's King Kong starring Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, Jack Black and AndySerkis.
EstimatedTop Ten North America Dec 9-11 2005
Film(Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date
1(-) The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (Buena Vista/Walden Media) BVI $67.1m -
2(19) Syriana (Warner Bros) WBPI$12m $13.5m
3(1) Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (Warner Bros) WBPI $10.3m $244.1m
4(3) Walk The Line (Fox) Fox Intl$5.8m $77m
5(4) Yours, Mine And Ours (Paramount)SPRI $5.2m $40.9m
6(2) Aeon Flux (Paramount) UIP$4.6m $20.3m
7(5) Just Friends (New Line)Inferno Distribution $3.9m $26.5m
8(8) Pride & Prejudice (FocusFeatures) UIP $2.5m $26.4m
9(7) Chicken Little (Buena Vista)BVI $2.3m $127.2m
10 (6) Rent (Revolution/Sony) SPRI $2m $26.9m