Box office was up about 35%from the same weekend last year in North America as DreamWorks' lavishadaptation of HG Wells' The Time Machine opened well at number one with an estimated $22.5mat 2,944 sites. Directed by Wells' grandson Simon Wells (Balto), the film stars Guy Pearce as Alexander Hartdegen,the young scientist hero who travels forward in time from 1895 New York City toa post-apocalyptic era where humans are enslaved. Warner Bros co-financed thefilm, which also stars Mark Addy, Jeremy Irons, Samantha Mumba and SiennaGuillory, and will distribute it in international territories.
The Time Machine convincingly displaced We Were Soldiers from the top slot, although the Mel Gibson war epicfell just 29% to take an estimated $14.5m and bring its total to $40.8m.
The only other new entry wasIce Cube-starrer All About The Benjamins from New Line Cinema which took a mighty $10.1m at 1,505 sites for astrong average of $6,728. Cube has developed a loyal audience following,particularly among African American audiences, with the first two Friday films from New Line which will release the third TheFriday After Next later in the year.The action comedy reteams Cube with Friday co-star Mike Epps and is the story of a bounty hunter (Cube) on thetrail of a bail-jumping con man (Epps). Cube also co-wrote and co-produced thefilm.
It was another great weekendfor New Line, with All About The Benjamins at number three, long-running hit John Q stable at number five with $6m over the weekend anda total of $59.1m and its multiple Oscar nominee The Lord Of The Rings: TheFellowship Of The Ring at number tenwith $2.6m and a total of $291.1m.
Next weekend will see newopenings from Screen Gems (Resident Evil), 20th Century Fox (Ice Age) and Warner Bros (Showtime), with just seven weeks to go before summer beginswith the long-anticipated release of SPE's Spiderman.
ESTIMATED TOP TEN US MARCH8-10
Film(Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date
1 (-) The Time Machine (DreamWorks) Warner Bros $22.5m --
2 (1) We Were Soldiers (Paramount) Icon International $14.5m $40.8m
3 (-) All About TheBenjamins (New Line) New LineInternational $10.1m -
4 (2) 40 Days And 40Nights (Miramax)Universal/StudioCanal $7.1m $22.9m
5 (5) John Q (New Line) New Line International $6m $59.1m
6 (4) Return To Neverland (Buena Vista) BVI $4.7m $41.7m
7 (3) Dragonfly (Universal) UIP/Spyglass $4.1m $24.9m
8 (7) A Beautiful Mind (Universal) DreamWorks/UIP $3.9m $144.3m
9 (9) Big Fat Liar (Universal) UIP $3.4m $43.3m
10 (10) The Lord Of TheRings: The Fellowship Of The Ring(New Line) New Line International $2.6m $291.1m