Apocalypto is top of the US box office

Looks like the old maxim that there’s no bad publicity is still holding up. Despite his booze-fuelled tirade, Mel Gibson’s fans have decided that they still want to see his blood-drenched movies. And though critics have been lambasting the director for making what is essentially a summer blockbuster action movie in the guise of a chin-stroking look at another culture, that wasn’t enough to keep it from the top. Still, Mel had to settle for a not quite Passion-ate $14.2 million. It’s hardly a big launch given that his look at Jesus’ death started on $83.8 million, but then there isn’t as much Christian interest in this one…

That meant Nancy Meyers’ latest, soppy rom-com The Holiday, had to settle for second place. It wasn’t far behind Apocalypto, taking in $13.5 million. Happy Feet finally toppled from its icy throne atop the box office, though it only dropped to third place, making $12.7 million this weekend alone, which has boosted its earnings to $137.8 million in total.

At fourth, Casino Royale was nipping at the penguins’ heels, making $8.8 million and landing it just head of this week’s third new arrival, another action flick masquerading as a message movie, Leo DiCaprio’s Blood Diamond. The tragic look at the dark side of the diamond trade could only muster up $8.5 million in fifth, hardly the sort of epic opening Warner Bros were after.

The studio also saw its kiddie movie entry for the week, Unaccompanied Minors, fare badly on release. With just $6.2 million in this first weekend, its only saving grace is that it was pretty cheap to make. At seventh, Déjà Vu held on a little, nabbing $6 million and beating out the underperforming Nativity Story, which rustled up just $5.3 million.

Rounding out this week’s charts, we have the two Christmas comedies, Deck The Halls (ninth) and The Santa Clause 3 (10th), which will now hopefully drop out of the top 10 altogether…

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