Underworld: Awakening tops the US box office

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George Lucas has been back in the news this week, lambasting those who have criticised his constant Star Wars tinkering and lamenting the difficulties he had getting WW2 drama Red Tails distributed by a major studio.

In the end, Lucas was forced to reach into his own pocket to get the film released, so he’ll be relieved to see the Red Tails sitting in second place at the box office, with a better-than-expected $19.1 million in the bank.

It couldn’t quite manage top spot however, with that particular accolade going to Kate Beckinsale’s fantasy caper Underworld: Awakening , which took $25.4 million on its opening weekend.

Mark Wahlberg thriller Contraband remained stable in third place with $12.2 million, but Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close disappointed in fourth with a weekend of just $10.5 million.

Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire also endured an underwhelming opening of just $9 million, narrowly topping Disney’s 3D re-release of Beauty And The Beast on $8.5 million. Joyful Noise , with Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton, took just over $6 million to claim seventh spot.

Three festive blockbusters round out the top ten, with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol , Sherlock Holmes 2 and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in the bottom three places.

Next week sees Liam Neeson fighting off a pack of wolves with his bare hands in survival thriller The Grey . A recipe for box office success if ever we heard one!