Belfast Telegraph

Eckhart film tops US box office

Aaron Eckhart's blockbuster Battle: Los Angeles heads the US box office sales after the weekend, opening to a strong debut of 36 million dollars, according to studio estimates.

The film stars Eckhart as a veteran soldier leading a platoon of Marines in combat against invading aliens.

For Columbia Pictures and Sony, the sci-fi action film recalls its 2009 Oscar-nominated hit District 9. Battle: Los Angeles hasn't received nearly as good reviews, but it benefited from a 68 per cent male audience and a very successful marketing campaign.

"It's kind of like having a summer film in the spring," said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution at Sony. "From the beginning, this was a film we were excited about."

Bruer added that there's "definitely a connection" between Battle: Los Angeles and District 9, which opened to 37.4 million dollars and was also helmed by a South African filmmaker.

In its second week of release, the animated Western spoof Rango came in second, adding 23.1 million dollars for a cumulative total of 68.7 million.

The weekend's other new releases didn't fare well.

Red Riding Hood, the updated fairy tale starring Amanda Seyfried and helmed by Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, debuted to 14.1 million dollars for Warner Bros.

Worse was Disney's animated 3-D family film Mars Needs Moms!, which opened to a disappointing 6.8 million dollars, well below expectations. With a voice cast including Seth Green and Joan Cusack, it also opened on more than 200 Imax screens.

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