The Messengers haunt the US box office

This weekend in the US, most people were more excited about the nation’s biggest obsession – no, not American Idol, the Superbowl - than the movies. And while American footie madness dominated the weekend and meant that most big films stayed out of its way, a couple of releases attempted to grab some dollars.

The winner of the weekend was The Messengers, the first American film from Hong Kong horror gurus Danny and Oxide Pang. The ghostly tale of a family bothered by marauding spirits arrived at number one with $14.5 million.

Second place was nabbed by Diane Keaton’s latest starring role, Because I Said So. Despite a slating from the critics, the film managed to appeal to a female audience and made $13 million – hardly amazing, but decent enough. In third, Epic Movie lost 56% of its business and showed that it probably won’t have very long legs. Still, since this sort of comedy – and we use the term loosely – is cheap to pump out, we’ll likely see another one.

Night At The Museum continues to hold on, appearing in fourth place and boosting its running total to $225 million. Smokin' Aces, meanwhile, dropped down to fifth, making $6.3 million this week. Sixth place was won by Stomp The Yard, which has now danced its way to just over $56 million.

In seventh we find Oscar contender Dreamgirls, which made $4 million over the weekend and has taken $92 million so far. And talking of Oscar hopefuls, Pan’s Labyrinth held in eighth place, and has now become the highest-grossing Spanish language film in the US, having made $21.6 million.

Meanwhile, likely gong-grabbers also made up the rest of the charts, with The Pursuit Of Happyness at ninth ($3.1 million this weekend) and The Queen reigning in 10th, with $45 million so far.