Page last updated at 10:01 GMT, Monday, 12 January 2009

Eastwood drama tops US box office

Clint Eastwood
Gran Torino is Eastwood's 33rd time in the director's chair

Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino has topped the US box office, taking around $29m (19.3m) in its opening weekend.

The drama, about an ageing Korean war veteran who takes on a street gang, has set a new record for the 78-year-old actor and director.

His previous best opening weekend was science fiction comedy Space Cowboys, which made $18m in 2000.

Gran Torino has earned over $40m (26.7m) since a limited opening release last month.

Despite praise from the critics, the film has been largely ignored this awards season so far, missing out on a Golden Globe with just one nomination for best original song.

But Eastwood's fortunes could be about to change with Academy Awards voters' nominations ballots due on Tuesday.

1. Gran Torino $29m
2. Bride Wars $21.5m
3. The Unborn $21.1m
4. Marley & Me $11.4m
5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button $9.5m
Source: Media by Numbers

This week's second highest entry was Bride Wars, starring Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson as duelling brides-to-be, on $21.5m (14.3m), followed by the modestly budgeted supernatural thriller The Unborn, at number three with $21.1m (14.1m).

The drama Not Easily Broken made its debut at number nine with $5.6m (3.7m), opening in just 724 cinemas.

Last week's number one movie Marley & Me, starring Jennifer Aniston and Luke Wilson, fell to number four with $11.4m (7.6m).

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