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Mel Gibson's new film leads N American box office
Latest Updated by 2006-12-11 17:12:18

Director Mel Gibson (C) is shown with cast members on the set of his new film "Apocalypto"

Oscar winning actor-turned-director Mel Gibson, though facing personal troubles with his anti-Semitic words during a drunken-driving arrest last summer, proved he is still a lethal weapon at the box office with an exotic and bloody production.

Gibson's new film, "Apocalypto ," topped the box office in North America with an estimated 14.2 million dollars in its debuting weekend, toppling three-week winner, "Happy Feet," according to studio estimates released Sunday by the Los Angeles-based box office tracker Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

Speculation abounded prior to the film's debut this weekend about whether audiences would see the R-rated film, which chronicles the decline of the Mayan civilization.

Gibson fell from grace in Hollywood with his anti-Semitic tirade in July after he was arrested for midnight drunk driving in Malibu, although he has repeatedly apologized for the rant and checked into a rehabilitation program for alcohol abuse.

However, "Apocalypto's" debut gross seems modest compared to Gibson's 2004 blockbuster "The Passion of the Christ," which opened in first place with 83.8 million dollars and went on to gross 370 million dollars in the United States and Canada.

"The Holiday," a romantic comedy starring Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Jack Black, took second place at the weekend box office with an estimated 13.5 million dollars.

"Happy Feet," the animated dancing penguin movie came in third with about 12.7 million dollars, bringing its total gross to some 137.7 million since its debut one month ago, while in fourth place was "Casino Royale," the latest installment in the 007 series, with an estimated 8.8 million dollars.

"Blood Diamond," the politically charged movie about conflict diamonds in Africa starring Leonardo DiCaprio, debuted in fifth place with an estimated 8.5 million dollars.

The top 12 films grossed about 86.7 million dollars this weekend, down more than 25 percent from the same weekend last year, when blockbuster "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" opened with 65.6 million dollars.

Editor: Donald

By: Source:China View website
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