Page last updated at 08:44 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2008 09:44 UK

Coen brothers rule US box office

The Coen Brothers (l), John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand
The Coen brothers (left) along with cast members including Brad Pitt

Oscar-winning film-makers the Coen brothers have topped the North American box office chart with their latest release, Burn After Reading.

The movie, which stars Brad Pitt, George Clooney and John Malkovich, scored the pair's best opening week takings, with sales of $19.4m (10.7m).

The Family That Preys was beaten into second place, with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino's Righteous Kill at three.

Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country For Old Men won four Oscars this year.

Box office upturn

The film-making pair have broken into more commercial territory with the new release, according to Focus Features distribution president Jack Foley.

"They've become more of a household name," he added, citing their Oscar-winning sheen and the stellar cast of the film.

1 Burn After Reading - $19.4m
2 Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys - $18m
3 Righteous Kill - $16.5m
4 The Women - $10.1m
5 The House Bunny - $4.3m
Source: Media By Numbers

Writer-director Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys, starring Kathy Bates, gives him five films that have made their debut at number one or two in the box office ratings.

Last weekend's chart topper, Bangkok Dangerous starring Nicolas Cage, slumped to eight, behind Batman epic The Dark Knight at number seven.

Total box office takings across the weekend in North America are expected to surpass $100m (55.4m), reversing a seven-week slide in takings.

Last weekend was the least successful in five years.

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