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Monday, 11 March, 2002, 09:30 GMT
Time Machine tops US box office
The Time Machine: Samantha Mumba and Gut Pearce
The movie has weathered some critical reviews
A film adaptation of a century-old science fiction classic has topped the US box office charts, taking $22.5m (15.8m) in its first weekend.

The Time Machine, based on HG Wells' 1895 book and directed by his great-grandson Simon Wells, stars Guy Pearce, Jeremy Irons and pop star Samantha Mumba.

Also made into a celebrated movie in 1960, The Time Machine tells the story of a Victorian scientist whose time-travelling experiments eventually project him into the distant future when the world is split into two races, the Eloi and the Morlocks.

US box office chart
1. The Time Machine
2. We Were Soldiers
3. All About The Benjamins
4. 40 Days And 40 Nights
5. John Q
6. Return to Never Land
7. Dragonfly
8. A Beautiful Mind
9. Big Fat Liar
10. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
Jim Tharp, head of the film's distributors DreamWorks, said: "This is a very strong opening since only a handful of movies released in the first half of March ever open to more than $20m."

The movie has pushed Mel Gibson vehicle We Were Soldiers into second place, taking an estimated $14.5m (10.2m).

New release All About The Benjamins, a crime comedy starring and co-written by rapper Ice Cube, took in $10.1m (7.1m), a strong performance given that it opened in only 1,505 cinemas, against 2,944 for The Time Machine.

Nomination

The romantic comedy 40 Days And 40 Nights, starring Josh Hartnett, earned $7.1m (5m) to come in at number four, John Q following with a $6m (4.2m) take.

We Were Soldiers
We Were Soldiers is set in the Vietnam war
The influence of an Oscar nomination is suggested by the continued presence of A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe, and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the top ten.

Aaliyah's Queen of the Damned, a previous number one, dropped out of the top ten.

A minor hit in limited release was Monsoon Wedding, a culture clash comedy about a wedding in India, which took in $779,000 (548,000) despite playing in only 76 cinemas.

Overall, the box office take from the weekend's top 12 films was 34% higher than in the same weekend last year.

See also:

01 Mar 02 | England
War epic ignores Cornish hero
08 Feb 02 | Film
Collateral Damage debuts
21 Jan 02 | Film
Black Hawk shoots down Rings
07 Dec 01 | Showbiz
Hollywood execs in 'war summit'
13 Sep 01 | Film
Hollywood 'changed forever'
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