"Golden Compass" tops box office

LONDON (Reuters) - Family fantasy movie “The Golden Compass” found its way to top spot at the box office on its opening weekend, Screen International said on Tuesday.

British actor Daniel Craig and French actress Eva Green pose during a photocall for U.S. director Chris Weitz's film "The Golden Compass" at the 60th Cannes Film Festival May 21, 2007. Family fantasy movie "The Golden Compass" found its way to top spot at the box office on its opening weekend, Screen International said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Yves Herman)

The film, starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, took the direct route going straight in at number one, grossing 5.7 million pounds.

In addition, it took 1.6 million pounds on the preceding Wednesday and Thursday during previews.

It knocked seasonal comedy “Fred Claus” from pole position. The movie, about Santa’s less saintly brother heading to the North Pole in need of cash, headed south to number two.

“Hitman”, a film adaptation of the video game of the same name, featuring nameless assassin Agent 47 in 100 minutes of relentless violence, suffered a body blow when it was knocked back from two to three.

There was little change in the top 10, with the pack shuffling only slightly to make way for “The Golden Compass”.

The only other film making an impression was “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”, which moved up from 10 to eight.

Crowe and Washington in director Ridley Scott’s “American Gangster” were down one in fourth, just above “Beowulf”, director Robert Zemeckis’s adaptation of the Old English poem, starring Ray Winstone, which was down one to five.

At six, down a place was “Stardust”, a fantasy adventure starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro, while at seven, also slipping one, was the animated tale of sewer rat-turned-chef, “Ratatouille”.

“The Darjeeling Limited”, with Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody heading off the beaten track in India, lost its way and slumped from seventh to ninth.

Sneaking into the top 10 was the Bollywood movie “Aaja Nachle”, up one place from 11.

Reporting by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Michael Holden