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Last Updated: Monday, 20 June, 2005, 08:27 GMT 09:27 UK
Batman triumphs at US box office
Batman Begins
Christian Bale stars as Batman in the new film
Batman Begins has made its debut at number one at the North American box office, taking $49.9m (25.7m).

But the film's performance failed to halt a long-term decline in box office takings in the US and Canada, which marks the worst slump for 20 years.

The top 12 films registered a 1.6% downturn on the same weekend in 2004.

Hilary Duff's new film The Perfect Man was the other major new release at seven, making less than half of her 2004 film A Cinderella Story.

Box office analysts are considering whether a growing preference for watching films at home is eroding cinema performance.

Star Wars
1 Batman Begins
2 Mr And Mrs Smith
3 Madagascar
4 Star Wars Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith
5 The Longest Yard
Source: Exhibitor Relations

But Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Brothers, says this is a trend which will require further observation.

"We need to look at that, but I believe you can't do it by looking at six months. I think you have to take a couple of years to look at it," he said.

Mr Fellman added that he did not believe there has been a strong enough roster of films in recent months.


"Even though there were and will continue to be strong movies in the summer, I don't think there have been enough of them," he said.

Batman Begins, which stars Welsh actor Christian Bale in the lead role, is forecast to end its first week on $85 million, compared to a range of $59 million to $77 million for the previous outings in their initial period of release.

Dan Fellman, responsible for the distribution of Batman Begins, said the studio was likely to produce a sequel on the strength of this film's performance.

In pictures: Batman through the years
16 Jun 05 |  In Pictures
Film critics hail Batman revival
15 Jun 05 |  Entertainment
The many faces of Batman
15 Jun 05 |  Entertainment


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