‘Shrek the Third’ tops US box office, sets new record

By Xinhua

Los Angeles : DreamWorks Animation's "Shrek the Third" debuted at the number-one spot at the US box office this weekend, raking in some $122 million over the three-day period and setting a new opening record for an animated film.

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According to preliminary figures released Sunday, the latest adventure of the green ogre broke the previous record of $108 million taken by "Shrek 2" in its first weekend on release three years ago. "Shrek 2" has been the highest-grossing animated film of all time with $436.7 million in total ticket sales in North America.

Meanwhile, the latest Shrek film also posted the third-biggest opening weekend of all time, following Sony's "Spider-Man 3" and Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest", which respectively took $151.1 million and $135.6 million at the box office in their first weekends, said the Los Angeles-based box office tracker Media by Numbers.

After "Spider-Man 3," released just three weekends ago, "Shrek the Third" was the second movie this month to take at least $100 million, while the third such movie will hit theatres later this week when "Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End" debuts.

Industry observers said Hollywood was presenting the biggest summer season in its history, as the box office has never seen three 100-million-dollar-plus openers in the same summer, let alone in the same month.

"Spider-Man 3", after ruling the box office for two weeks, slipped to second place at box office with $28.5 million over the weekend. It has grossed $281.9 million in North America and $747 million worldwide since its release earlier this month.

Fox Atomic's sci-fi horror sequel "28 Weeks Later" slipped one spot to third place with an estimated $5.2 million, while Paramount thriller "Disturbia" and Universal's family comedy "Georgia Rule" remained in fourth and fifth place respectively with takings of $3.7 million and $3.5 million.

The dozen highest-grossing films in North America this weekend raked in a total of $172.9 million, a 12 percent increase over the same weekend a year ago, when "The Da Vinci Code" opened.