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Cars pins Nacho Libre to the mat

Even Jack Black in stretchy pants wasn’t quite enough to shake the dominance of Pixar’s paean to automobiles and a gentler, easier way of life this week across the pond. Despite dropping 48%, Cars revved up a weekend family audience and easily crossed the finish line in first place with $31 million.

Jack will be smiling though, and not just because he became a father this week. Nacho Libre, directed by Napoleon Dynamite’s Jared Hess, became Black’s highest-earning comedy release, taking in $27.5 million for a healthy first week. Having a less celebratory launch was The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift, the third outing for a franchise that now looks to have a flat tyre. That said, the film did well considering it was up against much tougher films than 2 Fast 2 Furious.

This week’s third new arrival went for the heart in an attempt to counter the macho Nacho and Tokyo Drift. Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock simpering at each other divided by two years and united by a mystical mailbox in The Lake House earned $14 million. Not bad, but not great either.

It was better than Garfield, though. The lazy moggy’s second outing barely managed to scratch the surface of sixth, with a truly lame $7.2 million. You might argue that it was foolish to launch it the week after Cars and with Over The Hedge still earning money, but Fox apparently believed in the power of the first film’s success and the fact that American kids were finally loosed from school. Whoops.

In fifth place - ahead of the ginger winger- was The Break-Up, which continues to do well. The Vince Vaughn/Jennifer Aniston romantic drama/comedy now stands at $92 million in the US alone. But that’s nothing compared to the current 2006 box office champ – X-Men: The Last Stand took in $7.7 million this weekend, and its US tally now stands at $215.5 million.

Eighth went to The Omen, which has a devilish total of $46.8 million in the US so far. The Da Vinci Code, meanwhile, grabbed $5 million for a running total of $198 million. The critters of Over The Hedge languished at 10, waiting to scamper from the charts with a $4 million weekend and a total US haul to date of $138.7 million. Enough to buy a few acorns at least…