The box office bounced back at the weekend as Johnny Depp scoredhis second consecutive number one bow when Columbia's Once Upon A Time InMexico swaggered its way to the top on an estimated $24m.
The third and final instalment in Robert Rodriguez' El Mariachi trilogy garnered very good reviews andstars Antonio Banderas, Depp and Salma Hayek in a breathless tale of intrigueand assassination south of the border.
It averaged an impressive $7,312 from 3,282 venues and co-starsWillem Dafoe, Eva Mendes and Mickey Rourke.
In its first three days the action-adventure is already close topassing the $25.4m final gross for the previous instalment in the series,1995's Desperado.
Depp also stars in Buena Vista's Pirates Of The Caribbean, which opened number one in the summerand remained on course for $300m as it added $4.6m for $288m in its 10th week,dropping two places to fifth.
Opening in second on $13.3m was Warner Bros' Matchstick Men, starring Nicolas Cage as a phobic conartist who forms an unexpected bond with the daughter he never knew he had.
It was a decent bow for the prolific Ridley Scott's latestoffering and averaged $4,902 from 2,711 sites. Sam Rockwell and Alison Lohmanalso star in the film, which received excellent reviews.
Opening in third on $8.5m was Lions Gate's horror film CabinFever, another strongbow for the genre in recent weeks and a decent start for the festivalhit.
Jordan Ladd, James DeBello and Rider Strong play college studentswho are plagued by a killer flesh-eating virus while on holiday in a woodlandlodge. It averaged $4,048 from 2,087 sites.
Buena Vista's Freaky Friday passed $100m, falling two to sixth on $4.1m for a $102m runningtotal in its sixth week.
Sofia Coppola's second feature Lost In Translation, a critically revered tale of twosoul-searchers who enjoy a memorable night in Tokyo, scored a superb $901,143from 23 theatres for a $39,180 average.
It expands into 125 next week and stars Bill Murray and ScarlettJohansson.
Overall the top 12 films grossed $73.5m, a rise of around 1% fromthe same period last year.
Next week's releases include DreamWorks' Anything Else, Woody Allen's latest comedy starringAllen, Jason Biggs and Christina Ricci; Buena Vista's thriller Cold CreekManor, starring DennisQuaid and Sharon Stone; Paramount's comedy The Fighting Temptations, starring Cuba Gooding Jr and BeyonceKnowles; and New Line's comedy-drama Secondhand Lions, which stars Michael Caine, RobertDuvall and Haley Joel Osment.
Estimated Top Ten US Sept 12-14, 2003
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekendgross/Estimated total to date
1 (-) Once Upon A Time In Mexico (Columbia) BVI/CTFDI $24m -
2 (-) Matchstick Men (Warner Bros) Warner Bros $13.3m -
3 (-) Cabin Fever (Lions Gate) Lions Gate International $8.5m -
4 (1) Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (Paramount) UIP $5m $12.8m
5 (3) Pirates Of The Caribbean (Buena Vista) BVI $4.6m $288m
6 (4) Freaky Friday (Buena Vista) BVI $4.1m $102m
7 (2) Jeepers Creepers 2 (MGM) Myriad Pictures $3m $31.8m
8 (7) Open Range (Buena Vista) Cobalt Media $2.8m $53.6m
9(5) S.W.A.T. (Columbia) CTFDI$2.8m $112.9m
10 (8) Seabiscuit (Universal) Spyglass/BVI $2.7m $113.6m