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Monday, 25 February, 2002, 08:13 GMT
Aaliyah film tops US box office
The director of Aaliyah's film has defended its release
Six months after she perished in a plane crash, R&B singer Aaliyah is at the top of the US box office with her vampire film, Queen of the Damned.

According to studio estimates, the film took $15.2m (10.6m) over its first three days of release.

The Denzel Washington drama John Q, released last week, slipped to second place, with $12.5m (8.7m).

The top 10 contained one other new release - Kevin Costner's supernatural drama Dragonfly, which opened at number three, with $10.4m (7.3m).

The top five
Queen of the Damned ($15.2m/10.6m)
John Q ($12.5m/(8.7m)
Dragonfly ($10.4m/7.3m)
Return to Never Land ($9m/6.3m)
Crossroads ($7.1m/5m)

Last week in USA Today, film director Michael Rymer defended the release of Queen of the Damned so soon after the singer's death.

The film is based on the third book of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles novels.

The late singer plays a 6,000-year-old Egyptian vampire bent on ruling the world, while Irish actor Stuart Townsend plays the vampire Lestat.

Tom Cruise played Lestat in 1994's Rice adaptation Interview with the Vampire.

Aaliyah had almost completed her starring role when she was killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas on 25 August 2001, at the age of 22.

Her older brother, Rashad Haughton, voiced the unfinished parts of her script.

John Q
Denzel Washington's John Q: A satire on the health care system

Of the films in their second week on release, the Peter Pan cartoon Return to Never Land slipped number four, taking $9m (6.3m).

The Britney Spears road movie Crossroads, also in its second weekend, fell three places, to number five, with $7.1m (5m).

The top 12 films took $85.5m (60m), according to box office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations.

That figure was down 19% on last weekend.

See also:

18 Feb 02 | Music
Director defends Aaliyah film
26 Aug 01 | Music
Aaliyah: A rising star lost
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