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Last Updated: Monday, 27 March 2006, 07:37 GMT 08:37 UK
Spike Lee film tops US box office
Denzel Washington (r) and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Inside Man
Washington has worked with Spike Lee since the 1980s
Director Spike Lee's film Inside Man, starring Denzel Washington, has topped the US box office by taking $29m (16.5m) in its first weekend.

The thriller, which also stars Clive Owen and Jodie Foster, has had the most successful opening of any film made by the director or star Washington.

Inside Man replaced V for Vendetta, which dropped to number two.

Other new entries in the North American chart included computer game thriller Stay Alive at number three.

Inside Man beat the $22.8m (13m) notched by Washington's Man on Fire in 2000 and the $11m (6.2m) earned by Lee's Original Kings of Comedy in 2004.

Spike Lee
Lee's films include Summer of Sam and Do The Right Thing

It sees police detective Washington trying to outwit a gang of robbers holed up inside a Manhattan bank with 50 hostages.

Lee and Washington have previously collaborated on a number of films, including Malcolm X and He Got Game.

The other new entry in the chart was comedy Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, starring the US stand-up comic Dan Whitney, which went in at number seven.

Comedy Failure to Launch, which held the top spot before V for Vendetta, fell two spots to fourth, with The Shaggy Dog in fifth place.

The top 12 movies grossed $98.9m (56.6m), up 10.6% on the same weekend in 2005.

Meanwhile, comedy remake The Pink Panther, starring Steve Martin, has topped the international box office for a third week running.

The film, which sees Martin take up the role of Inspector Clouseau made famous by Peter Sellers, took $10.6m (6m) in 53 countries outside North America.

Inside Man was second, according to the Hollywood Reporter, with political thriller V for Vendetta was in third place.


SEE ALSO:
V for Vendetta tops US box office
20 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
On the inside with Spike Lee
24 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
Comic film Failure tops US chart
13 Mar 06 |  Entertainment


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