Focus Features' Lost In Translation enjoyed a strong debut last weekend following rapturous reviews. Sofia Coppola's second film opened 15th on $925,087 for an excellent $40,221 average from just 23 sites. Translation, which left critics infatuated, pairs Bill Murray with the early award season's wunderkind Scarlett Johansson as unlikely partners on a beguiling tour through Tokyo's nightscape. Lost In Translation is due to expand into 125 venues next weekend, and could go wider still.
Artisan's Dummy, a 2002 romantic comedy by Greg Pritikin starring Adrien Brody as a ventriloquist, opened 57th on $30,120. With an average of $6,024 from five.
Three major releases took the top three positions - led by Robert Rodriguez's final chapter in his El Mariachi trilogy, Once Upon A Time In Mexico. The film's $23.4m three-day opening was only just short of beating the previous instalment's (Desperado) total North American gross of $25.4m. It is the second number one opening in a row for both Rodriguez (after Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over) and Johnny Depp (following Pirates Of The Caribbean).
In second place, Ridley Scott's Matchstick Men impressed, averaging $4,827 from 2,711 sites. It drew a varied crowd, with 53% male and an even split either side of 30-year-olds, which will stand the comedy-drama in good stead as the awards season gets underway.
Lions Gate's Cabin Fever consolidated a good year for horror following recent number one openings for Freddy Vs Jason and Jeepers Creepers 2. Eli Roth's film averaged $4,137 from 2,087 and will acquit itself well in theatres before making a further killing on home video.
Overall box office for the weekend was $87.2m, up 3% against the same period last year.