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Last Updated: Monday, 13 December, 2004, 09:56 GMT
Ocean's Twelve raids box office
George Clooney, Elliott Gould, Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Matt Damon
Catherine Zeta-Jones is a new addition to the all-star cast
Ocean's Twelve, the crime caper sequel starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, has gone straight to number one in the US box office chart.

It took $40.8m (21m) in weekend ticket sales, according to studio estimates.

The sequel follows the master criminals as they try to pull off three major heists across Europe.

It knocked last week's number one, National Treasure, into third place. Wesley Snipes' Blade: Trinity was in second, taking $16.1m (8.4m).

Rounding out the top five was animated fable The Polar Express, starring Tom Hanks, and festive comedy Christmas with the Kranks.

1. Ocean's Twelve
2. Blade: Trinity
3. National Treasure
4. The Polar Express
5. Christmas with the Kranks

Ocean's Twelve box office triumph marks the fourth-biggest opening for a December release in the US, after the three films in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The sequel narrowly beat its 2001 predecessor, Ocean's Eleven which took $38.1m (19.8m) on its opening weekend and $184m (95.8m) in total.

A remake of the 1960s film, starring Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, Ocean's Eleven was directed by Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh.

Soderbergh returns to direct the hit sequel which reunites Clooney, Pitt and Roberts with Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Elliott Gould. Catherine Zeta-Jones joins the all-star cast.

"It's just a fun, good holiday movie," said Dan Fellman, president of distribution at Warner Bros.

However, US critics were less complimentary about the $110m (57.2m) project, with the Los Angeles Times labelling it a "dispiriting vanity project".

A milder review in the New York Times dubbed the sequel "unabashedly trivial".

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