Stomp The Yard tramples the US Box Office

Just when it looked like every weekend from now on would be dominated by Ben Stiller’s Night At The Museum, January really gets going and we launch into underdog sleeper season.

Yes, a film with no stars, a slightly predictable storyline and a corking soundtrack has snatched the number one spot in much the same way that You Got Served arrived a couple of years ago. With $22 million, Sony’s Screen Gems arm will be very happy this morning.

But don’t cry for Ben or even Will (Smith, that is, in The Pursuit Of Happyness) – both their films have held on to healthy takes and are sticking near the top of the charts. Museum added $17 million this weekend, boosting its current impressive take to $185.7 million after four weeks in the States. And Happyness is on $134 million, having managed to bag $9 million this weekend.

The holdovers continue to dominate further down the list also. Dreamgirls is at number four, making a little over $8 million, though showing slightly worrying signs of drop-off, particularly as this was the week it opened in more cinemas to capitalise on all the awards chatter. Last week’s Hilary Swank-does-inspirational-teaching drama Freedom Writers sank one place to fifth, having made $18 million to date.

And Children Of Men clambered into the charts on a wider release, grabbing $6 million and raising its own running total to $21 million.

So what of the other newcomers? Bad news, we’re afraid. Alpha Dog, delayed for months by fears that it could jeopardise a real-life court case, had no bite on arrival, and made just $6.1 million. But that still beat Primeval, which launched at number eight despite appearing in more than a thousand cinemas more than Alpha. The action thriller had to be content with $5.9 million.

And Luc Besson might have been happy enough with Arthur And The Invisibles’ French opening to start the sequel, but the film has clearly failed to ignite the interest of American audiences. It stumbled on to 2,247 screens and only came away with $4.3 million.

Finally, bringing up the rear is The Good Shepherd, which fell five places to 10th and has now made $54 million in total.

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