Martin Scorsese's acclaimed crime epic The Departed opened top over the Columbus Day Weekend on anestimated $27m to produce the biggest debut by far of the veteran filmmaker'scareer.

The Departed is an adaptation of the 2002 Hong Kong crime story InfernalAffairs about a policemole and undercover cop who race to uncover each other. Scorsese relocates theaction to Boston and the ensemble cast is headed by Matt Damon, LeonardoDiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, and Vera Farmiga.

The director's previous best opening was $10.2m for Cape Fear in 1991, while 2004's The Aviator remains his most successful picture thusfar and finished on $102m.

NewLine's horror prequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning opened in second place on $19.2m, while Lionsgate'scomedy Employee Of The Monthtrailed in fourth place on $11.8m.

Overall box office climbed again as the top 12 titles grossed$102m, up 16% against the same period last year.

In their second weekends, Sony's Open Season fell two places to third on $16m for$44.1m, while Buena Vista's The Guardian finished fifth on $9.6m for $32.4m. Paramount's Jackass:Number Two is lookinggood in sixth place in its third weekend after adding $6.4m for $62.7m.

Yari Film Group's The Illusionist fell three to 10th place in its eighthweekend and has now amassed an impressive $34.1m. Fox Searchlight's LittleMiss Sunshine dipped outof the top 10 in 11th place on a mighty $55m after 11.

New Line's satire Little Children from director Todd Field and starringKate Winslet and Patrick Wilson launched well in limited release on $108,400from five theatres, and THINKFilm's Cannes pick-up Shortbus opened on $120,650 from six.

Next weekend's wide releases are: Fox's action title The Marinestarring John Cena;Lionsgate's documentary Deliver Us From Evil; Sony's horror sequel The Grudge 2 starring Sarah Michelle Gellar;Universal's comedy Man Of The Year starring Robin Williams and Laura Linney; and TWC's children'sadventure yarn Stormbreaker, which stars Alex Pettyfer.

Estimated Top Ten North America Oct 6-8, 2006

Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekendgross/Estimated total to date

1 (-) The Departed (Warner Bros) WBPI/Initial $27m -

2 (-) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (New Line) NLI $19.2m -

3 (1) Open Season (Sony) SPRI $16m $44.1m

4 (-) Employee Of The Month (Lionsgate) Lionsgate $11.8m -

5 (2) The Guardian (Buena Vista) BVI/Summit $9.6m $32.4m

6 (3) Jackass: Number Two (Paramount) UIP $6.4m $62.7m

7 (4) School For Scoundrels (MGM/TWC) TWC $3.4m $13.9m

8 (6) Gridiron Gang (Sony) SPRI $2.3m $36.6m

9 (5) Jet Li's Fearless (Rogue Pictures) Focus International $2.2m $21.7m

10 (7) TheIllusionist (Yari FilmGroup) Syndicate $1.8m $34.1m