Paramount and MTV Films' teen drama Save The Last Dance continued to lead the North American box office over the weekend, taking an estimated $16m for a ten day total of $46.9m. It is the first hit of the year and looks set to head for the $80m mark.
Meanwhile 20th Century Fox's Cast Away inched closer to the $200m barrier, taking $11.3m in its fifth week for a total of $182.1m. The multi-award winning Traffic, meanwhile, held on at number three with a strong $8.2m to bring its total to $46.5m. A score at the Golden Globe Awards, where it is nominated for five awards, could give Traffic a further boost. Award-winners hadn't been announced at time of going to press.
The biggest new opener was Screen Gems' Snatch, the Guy Ritchie-directed gangster drama from the UK which took a very good $7.6m at 1,444 theatres for an average of $5,263 per theatre. Featuring Traffic's Benicio Del Toro, Brad Pitt and Denis Farina opposite a British cast led by Jason Statham, Vinnie Jones and Jason Flemying, Snatch has already been a huge hit in the UK and has now paid for its $10m production cost several times over.
And Screen Gems' sister company Sony Pictures Classics widened its awards favourite Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon onto 837 screens for a gross of $6.5m this weekend, bringing its total to a stunning $37.7m. It is easily the biggest hit in SPC's history and the biggest Chinese language film in US history. Several further records should fall before it is finished.
There were two other wide openers, which performed moderately. Warner Bros' The Pledge produced and financed by Franchise Pictures, took $5.75m at 1,275 theatres for an average of $4,510. The movie directed by Sean Penn and starring Jack Nicholson has received generally good reviews. And Paramount Classics' The Gift from Lakeshore Entertainment went wide on 805 theatres to take $3.45m for an average of $4,286 per theatre. Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes, Hilary Swank and Keanu Reeves star, Sam Raimi directs.
Again box office was on the rise, up some 48% from the same weekend last year.
ESTIMATED TOP TEN US JAN 19-21
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (1) Save The Last Dance (Paramount) UIP $16m $46.9m
2 (2) Cast Away (20th Century Fox) DreamWorks $11.3m $182.1m
3 (3) Traffic (USA Films) IEG $8.2m $46.5m
4 (-) Snatch (Screen Gems) Columbia TriStar $7.6m --
5 (4) What Women Want (Paramount) Icon International $7m $162.4m
6 (5) Finding Forrester (Columbia) Columbia TriStar $6.7m $29.2m
7 (9) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Sony Classics) Good Machine International $6.5m $37.7m
8 (6) Thirteen Days (New Line) Beacon Pictures $6.4m $20m
9 (8) Miss Congeniality (Warner Bros) Warner Bros $6.2m $87.2m
10 (-) The Pledge (Warner Bros) Franchise Pictures $