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Monday, 22 October, 2001, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Depp's From Hell thrills box office
Heather Graham and Johnny Depp
Depp plays an inspector chasing Jack the ripper
From Hell, a film about Victorian murderer Jack the Ripper starring Johnny Depp, has opened at number one at the US box office.

The film, which premièred in Los Angeles on Thursday, also stars Heather Graham and Robbie Coltrane, and is based on a comic book by Alan Moore.

US box office top ten
1. From Hell
2. Riding In Cars With Boys
3. Training Day
4. Bandits
5. The Last Castle
6. Serendipity
7. Corky Romano
8. Don't Say A Word
9. Zoolander
10. Iron Monkey

It took $11.3 (£7.8m) at the box office, while the latest Drew Barrymore vehicle, Riding In Cars With Boys came a close second with $10.8 (£7.5m).

The overall box office was up slightly on last year, despite rumours that security threats were keeping people out of cinemas.

But it was still a relatively low-key weekend for the box office, compared with what has been a thriving year.

Other than Denzel Washington's crime drama Training Day a fortnight ago, new films are opening relatively weakly.

Jeff Blake, head of distribution at Sony, said: "I think the main reasons maybe everybody's getting a little less than they hoped is there's a lot of new movies out there.

Drew Barrymore
Barrymore plays a teenaged mother in a failed marriage
"Three or four new pictures a week is tough for the market to absorb."

Robert Redford's military-prison drama The Last Castle - another new release - came in at number five, taking $7.1m (£4.9m)

Training Day, in which Washington stars as a corrupt narcotics detective, moved from the top position to number three.

It took $9.5m (£6.6m) at the weekend, bringing its box office gross to $57.5m (£40.1m).

Meanwhile bank-robber comedy Bandits, starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett fell to number four with $8.4m (£5.86m).

Big releases

A pair of limited release films also did well.

Waking Life, Richard Linklater's animated discourse on reality, took $88,000 (£66,442) in four cinemas.

And Focus, starring William H Macy and Laura Dern as a New York couple ostracised during World War II when they are mistaken for Jews, took $26,000 (£18,153) at two cinemas.

All eyes will be on the box office in the run-up to Christmas, especially as several much-anticipated films will be released.

Monsters Inc - from the makers of Toy Story, opens on 2 November, followed by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone later that month and Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in December.

See also:

28 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Depp on Jack the Ripper's trail
04 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Depp drama excites Venice
15 Oct 01 | Film
US box office 'hurt by scares'
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