Fri, Dec 10, 2004 - Page 17 News List

'National Treasure' strikes US gold

The new Nicholas Cage film is biggest at the box office in America

AGENCIES

Nicholas Cage's flick National Treasure beat a slate of animated and holiday releases in the US for the third week in a row, figures showed Sunday.

The treasure hunt took an estimated US$17.1 million this weekend, boosting its three-week take to US$110.2 million.

The holiday comedy Christmas with the Kranks, starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, took second place, earning about US$11.7 million.

The computer animated The Polar Express, featuring the voice of Tom Hanks, arrived in third place with US$11 million.

Disney-Pixar's The Incredibles followed at US$9.1 million.

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, based on a television cartoon, took fifth place, and the Mike Nichols-directed Closer -- starring Jude Law, Julia Roberts and Natalie Portman -- debuted in sixth place.

Oliver Stone's big-budget epic Alexander, starring Irish hunk Colin Farrell, followed its disappointing opening last week with a slump to US$4.7 million.

The Peter Pan story Finding Neverland, starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslett, was again eighth, Renee Zellweger's Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason took ninth, and the Ray Charles biopic Ray was tenth.

`Incredibles' tops UK box office

The Incredibles has kept a firm grip on the top spot in UK cinemas while Christmas with the Kranks kicked off the festive season at number three.

The Incredibles, a computer-animated movie about a family of superheroes who come out of retirement raked in US$3.2 million over the weekend, to bring its gross so far to US$10 million.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason stayed in second, andChristmas with the Kranks took US$120,000 on its first weekend, pushing sci-fi conspiracy The Forgotten with Julianne Moore to fourth place.

The Grudge, a film about a cursed house starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, dropped to fifth while the thriller The Manchurian Candidate stayed at sixth.

Two new entries failed to make the top five. Churchill: The Hollywood Years, a surreal look at how movies rewrite history, went in at number seven.

The Shakespeare adaptation The Merchant of Venice was number eight, despite wide praise from critics for Al Pacino's performance as Shylock.

After the Sunset dropped to ninth place while Bollywood romance Veer Zaara fell to 10th.

Powell remains unshaken by Bond

Outgoing US Secretary of State Colin Powell turned film critic Tuesday in Sofia, Bulgaria, when he panned the formulaic plots of James Bond films while extolling producers for providing the fictional superspy with sophisticated gadgets before they were actually invented.

"It's interesting, though, a lot of the gadgets that you saw in the older James Bond movies and some of the other gadgets which seemed so incredible all have happened," Powell said.

He jokingly declined to comment when asked by a student whose class had analyzed Bond movies whether real-world technology surpassed that presented in today's films, saying "so much further I can't talk about them."

He had less enthusiasm for actual content of the movies.

Powell, who prefers Jamaican rum and coke to shaken martinis, offered no opinion on who his favorite Bond actor is.

Oscars and Emmy together

Earlier in the week Oscar organizers named Emmy-winning US television veteran Louis Horvitz as the director of the 77th annual Academy Awards telecast.

Horowitz has helmed the show, which is watched by up to US$1 billion television viewers across the world, eight times previously.

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