Despite the best efforts of four new entries, UIP's Hannibal continued its reign at the head of the UK box office for the third week runnin. The film, which took $2,989,577 (£2,026,933) in the three-days March 2-4, has now accumulated a massive total gross of $25,097,574.
Although the film dropped 43% from the previous weekend, a lack of challengers opening next weekend (amongst them UK hopeful Born Romantic and inspired mockumentary Best In Show) should ensure the film the top spot again before facing Pathe's Enemy At The Gates and BVI's Thirteen Days on March 16.Leading the openers were BVI's Chocolat and Redbus Film Distribution's The Gift. Chocolat built up a strong $1,370,364 (£929,107) from 207 sites, including previews of $228,264, to take second place. The film has benefitted from advance publicity supplied by multiple BAFTA and Oscar nominations, as well as a strong cast including British favourite Dame Judi Dench.
The Gift, starring Cate Blanchett, Keanu Reeves and last year's Best Actress Oscar winner Hilary Swank, also opened well, taking $1,327,891 (£900,310) from 246 sites for an average of $5,398. The thriller landed in fourth position between The Emperor's New Groove and Mel Gibson comedy What Women Want.Meg Ryan/Russell Crowe starrer Proof Of Life had to settle for sixth place in the chart. The film, directed by Taylor Hackford, saw receipts of $1,124,799 (£762,614) and a reasonable average of $3,813 from 295 sites.The other new entry was The Legend Of Bagger Vance which, after a one week/one screen platform release, opened wide on 220 sites to take $219,984 (£149,149) and 13th position.Meanwhile Columbia TriStar's foreign-language phenomenon Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has moved past the $10m figure in the UK. The film, placed eighth in the chart in its ninth week on release, has taken $10,094,690 to March 4.