Page last updated at 08:30 GMT, Monday, 23 March 2009

Cage rattles US box office chart

Cage's last film Bangkok Dangerous also topped the US chart

Nicolas Cage has topped the North American box office with sci-fi film Knowing, according to early figures.

The movie, in which the 45-year-old plays an astrophysicist racing to save the world, made an estimated $24.8m (£17.1m) in its first three days.

Male bonding comedy I Love You, Man, starring Paul Rudd, opened at number two with just over $18m (£12.4m).

Spy thriller Duplicity, which re-teams Julia Roberts with British star Clive Owen, was third with $14.4m (£9.9m).

The pair last played opposite each other in the acclaimed relationship drama Closer in 2004.

Last weekend's top movie, Race to Witch Mountain, which stars former wrestling champion Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, fell to fourth place with receipts of $13m (£8.9m).

1. Knowing - $24.8m
2. I Love You, Man - $18m
3. Duplicity - $14.4m
4. Race to Witch Mountain - $13m
5. Watchmen - $6.7m
6. The Last House on the Left- $5.9m
7. Taken - $4.1m
8. Slumdog Millionaire - $2.7m
9. Madea Goes To Jail - $2.5m
10. Coraline $2.1m
Source: Media By Numbers

Graphic novel adaptation Watchmen rounded out the top five with weekend takings of $6.7m (£4.6m), adding to it's worldwide tally of $139m (£95m).

Knowing was far from Cage's best opening weekend - his biggest being 2007's Ghost Rider, which grossed $45.4m (£31.1m) its first three days, followed by his two National Treasure adventures, which took $44.8m (£30.7m) and $35.1m (£24.2m) respectively.

Box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian said the film's end-of-the-world plot offered an ideal antidote for moviegoers weary of gloomy economic news.

"In a doomsday scenario, dollars and cents don't really matter anymore, and I think that's really appealing to people," he said.

"Who cares about mortgages anymore if the world's going to blow up?"

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