In the North American limited release arena there was another strong weekend for Focus Feature's slow burner Lost In Translation, which stayed in 10th place adding $3.7m for a $8.6m running total. It expanded by 305 to 488 sites and should be in 700-800 venues next weekend.

Newmarket's acclaimed and adored Whale Rider passed $20m in its 11th week, dropping 46% and five places to 29th. It is another big success for low-budget English-language films produced outside the US following the successes this summer for UK comedy Bend It Like Beckham and horror 28 Days Later.

Sony Classics's no-dialogue Swiss-French documentary Winged Mitgration also continued to play well and has passed $10m after 24 weeks on release.

RS Entertainment's Luther opened in 15th on $908,446. Eric Till's biopic stars Joseph Fiennes as the campaigning German monk and averaged $2,271 from 400 sites.

Canadian biblical drama, the three-hour The Gospel Of John, saw a strong screen average on 14 screens, taking $98,363 for a $7,026 average.

The film tells the story of Jesus from the perspective of the apostle John and could be a good sign for Mel Gibson's The Passion, due next year.

Overall box office was $93.6m, down 8% on the same period last year when Sweet Home Alabama opened on a sweet $35.6m.