Monday, October 20, 2008

"Max Payne" shoots to top of box office roster

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Action-packed "Max Payne" shot its way to the top of the North American box office, grossing $18 million during the video game adaptation's first weekend in theaters, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

The dark, atmospheric film, which stars Mark Wahlberg as a cop in search of the men who killed his wife and child, outshone Oliver Stone's much-talked-about "W.," which debuted at No. 4 with a take of $10.6 million.

"The estimates for 'W.' were all over the place," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. "You can't really expect that a politically charged movie like that would take the weekend over a big video game adaptation with a movie star in the lead role."

"Max Payne" follows in the footsteps of games turned into films including the "Tomb Raider" movies starring Angelina Jolie, which were commercial hits but critically clobbered by gamers.

Stone's portrait of U.S. President George W. Bush was released by Lionsgate, a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

Walt Disney Co's family comedy "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" was kicked to the No. 2 spot with a take of $11.2 million, bringing its total receipts to $69.1 million.

The civil rights era movie "The Secret Life of Bees," which is based on a best-selling novel, was a close No. 3, debuting with take of $11.1 million for the weekend.

"Max Payne" was released by 20th Century Fox and "The Secret Life of Bees" by Fox Searchlight, both units of News Corp.

The action thriller "Eagle Eye" slipped to the No. 5 spot on the list with a take of $7.3 million, bringing its total so far to $81.3 million.

"Eagle Eye" was released by DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc.

Summit Entertainment's teen comedy "Sex Drive," debuted at No. 9 on the weekend roster with a total of $3.6 million.

(Reporting by Deena Beasley; Editing by Bill Trott)

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