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Last Updated: Monday, 23 October 2006, 08:01 GMT 09:01 UK
Prestige drama tops US film chart
Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Michael Caine
The Prestige tells the story of two rival turn-of-the-century magicians
The Prestige, a period thriller which stars Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and Michael Caine, has entered the North American film charts at number one.

Directed by Christopher Nolan, who made Batman Begins, it took an estimated $14.8m (7.9m) over the weekend.

Martin Scorsese's The Departed stayed in second with $13.7m (7.3m), while Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers was new in third on $10.2m (5.4m).

Last week's most popular movie, horror sequel The Grudge 2, fell to fifth.

It shared that position with family film Flicka - based on the children's book My Friend Flicka - as each took $7.7m (4.1m) in cinemas in US and Canada.

Further down the chart, Marie Antoinette, the story of the 18th Century queen beheaded during the French Revolution, made its debut in eight place.

The cast of Flags of Our Fathers
1. The Prestige ($14.8m)
2. The Departed ($13.7m)
3. Flags of Our Fathers ($10.2m, pictured)
4. Open Season ($8m)
5=. Flicka ($7.7m)
5=. The Grudge 2 ($7.7m)
7. Man of the Year ($7m)
8. Marie Antoinette ($5.3m)
9. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning ($3.9m)
10. The Marine ($3.7m)
Source: Exhibitor Relations

It stars Kirsten Dunst and is directed by Sofia Coppola.

There was also a revival in interest in Tim Burton's 13-year-old animated tale The Night Before Christmas.

It was re-released in 3D and took $3.3m (1.8m) - but this total meant it fell just short of the top 10.

It was not a surprise that The Prestige was the top film, according to Chuck Viane, the head of distribution at Disney, which is responsible for the movie.

But he told the Associated Press news agency that it had faced strong competition, with rival releases The Departed and World War II tale Flags of Our Fathers ensuring there was "a great crowd" of options for cinema-goers.

Jim Tharp, Paramount's head of distribution, said his company's film Flags of Our Fathers appealed "to the older crowd" and "it takes time usually for that group to show up".

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