The Sony stable enjoyed an excellent weekend at the North Americanbox office as Screen Gems' supernatural sequel Underworld: Evolution romped to the top of the charts andColumbia's Fun With Dick And Jane crossed $100m in its fifth weekend.
Underworld: Evolution opened number one far ahead of the competition on an estimated$27.6m, outpacing the $21.8m number one debut of the original in September2003.
Kate Beckinsale reprises her role as a warrior vampire battlingwerewolves in Len Wiseman's follow-up to his earlier story. Scott Speedman andBill Nighy also star; the film averaged $8,606 on 3,207 screens.
Elsewhere, New Line's historical epic The New World, directed by master director TerrenceMalick and starring Colin Farrell and Christian Bale, opened poorly in 10thplace on $4.3m. It drew mixed reviews and averaged $5,240 on 811.
By contrast Jungle Films' Ecuador-set drama End Of The Spear scored a great debut as it launched ineighth place on $4.7m. Jim Hanon's independent picture was produced by EveryTribe Pictures and drew fair reviews, averaging $4,051 on 1,163 screens.
Focus Features' Golden Globe champion Brokeback Mountain climbed four places to fifth on $7.8mfrom 1,196 screens for $42.1m after seven weekends.
The animated romp Hoodwinked, which The Weinstein Co is releasing domestically, climbedone place to second on $11.1m for $29.3m after four weekends.
Buena Vista's basketball drama Glory Road and Paramount's feelgood picture LastHoliday both grossedaround $9.1m in their second weekends to rank third and fourth on $28.1m and$26.4m respectively.
Fun With Dick And Jane stayed in sixth place and added $6.1m for a $101.7m domesticrunning total and becomes the 18th 2005 release to cross the threshold. Fox's WalkThe Line, which ranked13th in its 10th weekend, enjoyed a strong post-Globes boost as it added $3.1mfor $102.1m and becomes the 19th title of 2005 to achieve the distinction.
Buena Vista/Walden Media's The Chronicles Of Narnia edged closer to $300m in seventh placeon $6.1m for $271.7m after seven weekends, while Universal's King Kong fell out of the top ten after six,ranking 11th on $209.8m.
Overall the top 12 pictures combined for $97m, up nearly 17% fromlast year's $82.9m.
Next weekend's wide releases are: Buena Vista's Annapolis starring James Franco and JordanaBrewster; Fox's Big Momma's House 2 starring Martin Lawrence; Universal's UK smash Nanny McPhee, starring Emma Thompson and Colin Firth;and a wide expansion of The Weinstein Co's buddy movie The Matador, which stars Pierce Brosnan and GregKinnear.
Estimated Top Ten North America Jan 20-22 2006
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend
gross/Estimated total to date
1 (-) Underworld: Evolution (Screen Gems) SPRI $27.6m Ð
2 (3) Hoodwinked (Weinstein Co) CMG $11.1m $29.3m
3 (1) Glory Road (Buena Vista) BVI $9.1m $28.1m
4 (2) Last Holiday (Paramount) UIP $9.1m $26.4m
5 (9) Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features) Focus Features $7.8m $42.1m
6 (6) Fun With Dick And Jane (Columbia) SPRI $6.1m $101.7m
7 (4) The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And TheWardrobe (BuenaVista/Walden Media) BVI $6.1m $271.7m
8 (-) End of The Spear (Jungle Films) N/A $4.7m Ð
9 (5) Hostel (Lionsgate) SPRI $4.3m $42.7m
10 (-) TheNew World (New Line) NLI$4.3m $4.4m