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Monday, 18 March, 2002, 12:34 GMT
Ice Age gets film fans animated
Ice Age
Ice Age broke the box office record for a March release
Prehistoric animated comedy Ice Age has frozen out competition from other new films to enter the North American box office chart at number one.

Ice Age, about a group of animals who find a human baby, proved a lot more popular than an adaptation of hit computer game Resident Evil and a new comedy starring Eddie Murphy and Robert De Niro.

US and Canada box office chart
1. Ice Age
2. Resident Evil
3. Showtime
4. The Time Machine
5. We Were Soldiers
It also smashed the record for the most successful opening weekend figures for March, and earned the third-biggest sum for an animated film's opening weekend.

With voices provided by Ray Romano, John Leguizamo and Denis Leary, it earned almost $48m (34m) between Friday and Sunday in the United States and Canada, according to preliminary figures. It is released in the UK on Friday.

Second in the chart was thriller Resident Evil, based on the video game of the same name, which took just over $18m (13m).

Showtime, a police spoof starring Eddie Murphy and Robert De Niro, came in third, with takings of more than $15m (11m).

The new releases helped push box office receipts to levels not normally seen until later in the year.

Ray Romano
Ray Romano provides the voice for Manfred the Mammoth
"It's summer in March," according to Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, which complies the box office statistics.

Ice Age was "cool, smart, funny", he said. "Adults enjoy these films as much as kids do."

Romano voices Manfred the Mammoth and Leguizamo is Sid the Sloth, who together discover the baby and try to return it to its tribe.

"Obviously, it exceeded our expectations," Tom Rothman, chairman of film studio Fox, said.

"It's a big number, and the key to that is simple - we got everybody. The movie got adults and young teens as well as families."

Update

Among animated hits, only Monsters, Inc and Toy Story 2 have had more successful opening weekends.

Last week's number one, an updated version of HG Wells' The Time Machine, directed by Wells' great-grandson Simon, slipped to number four in the chart.

Just one week before the Oscars ceremony, A Beautiful Mind was the only best picture nominee to be in the top 10, at number nine.

See also:

05 Nov 01 | Film
Monster hit at box office
10 Sep 01 | dot life
Adventures in animation
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