Page last updated at 07:52 GMT, Monday, 28 April 2008 08:52 UK

Surrogacy jape tops US film chart

Tina Fey and Amy Poelhler in Baby Mama
Baby Mama leads a comedy-rich box office chart

A comedy about surrogate motherhood has entered the US box office chart at number one in its opening weekend.

Baby Mama, which took $18.3m (9.2m), beat another comic movie, Harold and Kumar Escape Guantanamo Bay, into second spot.

Romantic caper Forgetting Sarah Marshall, co-starring Russell Brand, was at four, behind last week's martial arts number one, The Forbidden Kingdom.

So far this year, ticket sales in the US and Canada are down 2.7% on 2007.

'Comedy is king'

The number of people going to the movies is also down 5.4% compared to the same time last year.

Hollywood bosses are hoping for an upturn in figures as of next week, when the summer season of blockbusting films begins with Iron Man.

The Forbidden Kingdom
1 Baby Mama - $18.3m
2 Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay - $14.6m
3 The Forbidden Kingdom (above) - $11.1m
4 Forgetting Sarah Marshall - $11m
5 Nim's Island - $4.5m
Source: Media By Numbers

"Comedy is definitely king right now," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office analysts Media By Numbers.

"Audiences are definitely showing an interest in going to the movies and having a good time and having a laugh," he added.

The Harold and Kumar film, the second in the series, shows the hapless pair getting arrested after trying to smuggle drugs paraphernalia onto a flight to Amsterdam.

They are sent to the Guantanamo Bay detention centre, the US facility where alleged terrorists are held, from where they plot their escape.

"I don't think anybody takes this too seriously," said Dan Fellman, Warner Brothers' president of theatrical distribution.

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