Shrek The Third rules the US box office

Despite seriously middling – and deservedly so – reviews, the summer’s second threequel arrived with much ballyhoo and far too many jokes about the wait being “ogre”. But with the anticipation sky high following Shrek 2, there was little surprise that Shrek The Third opened to a fairytale launch.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that every other studio had scooted like a scared chicken out of the way of the big green guy, but the film still managed to beat expectations with a $122 million opening weekend – a record for animated films - and $123 million total after some early previews.

That big a cut into the business had to hit someone, and it ended up sapping audiences away from Spider-Man 3, which took a hefty tumble in its third weekend to $28.5 million. And the spider-sequel still has $281.8 million in the States alone.

Also dropping – 47% off of its opening weekend – was Fox’s 28 Weeks Later, which made $5.1 million and has nabbed $18.6 million thus far. Impressively, Shia LaBeouf thriller Disturbia actually managed to jump ahead of Lindsay Lohan’s underpowered Georgia Rule, despite the Lohan film sitting in theatres for only two weeks compared to Disturbia’s six. The thriller scared up $3.6 million, while the drama could only wring $3.4 million out of audiences.

In sixth place, Anthony Hopkins’ legal drama Fracture showed impressive staying power, perhaps because while it’s not the most amazing thriller, it does offer a little more grown-up drama than ogres, spiders and Lindsay Lohan’s sex drive. It clung to its position, making $2.4 million this weekend and $34.7 million overall to date. Seventh finds Delta Farce slipping down quickly, having taken $6.1 million, while The Invisible remains pretty transparent, although it has managed a $17.6 million gross.

Comedy success Hot Fuzz jumped up one place and claimed another impressive milestone, cracking the $20 million mark (or 50p in pounds sterling) for a $21 million coffers total. Finally, low-budget but sweet-natured drama Waitress, starring Keri Russell and TF favourite Nathan Fillion, snuck into the top 10 at the bottom, despite a very limited release (116 theatres compared to nearest lowest Hot Fuzz at 973), with a healthy $1.1 million weekend, giving it $2.1 million so far.

Next week? Yo, ho… Yo, ho… It’s the return of those Pirates Of The Caribbean. The summer slam match continues!

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