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Last Updated: Monday, 10 October 2005, 07:27 GMT 08:27 UK
Gromit movie tops US box office
Wallace and Gromit
Nick Park and co-director Steve Box started on the script five years ago
The Wallace and Gromit movie, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, has topped the US box office.

The clay animated film took $16.1m (9.1m) in its first week on release, more than $5m ($2.8m) more than second-placed thriller Flightplan.

The film is the duo's first big-screen outing after the acclaimed shorts A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave.

The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is released in the UK on Friday.

Featuring the voices of Peter Sallis, Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes, the film pits the duo against a monster rabbit ravaging the town's vegetable gardens.

It was made using stop-motion animation, which involves photographing inanimate objects a frame at a time.

Lower takings

Despite finishing in first place, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit took more than $1m (567,000) less in its first week than director Nick Park's last movie, Chicken Run.

But takings for the top 12 movies in the US list were down 10% from the same weekend last year.

The film's makers still expect it to do well in the US despite Wallace and Gromit having a lower profile than in the UK.

"In the US, they weren't as well-known as people might imagine," said Jim Tharp, head of distribution for DreamWorks, the studio which financed the $30m (17m) feature.

Nick Park
Nick Park calls the film "a dream come true"

"I think they certainly will be after this weekend."

Airplane thriller Flightplan, starring Jodie Foster, had been number one for the previous two weeks.

In Her Shoes, starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine, was third, followed by Al Pacino's gambling movie Two for the Money.

The Gospel, about an R&B singer making peace with his faith and his religious estranged father, was a new entry in fifth place.

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