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Riddick illuminates US box office

Vin Diesel's Riddick has debuted at the top of the US box office.

The science-fiction thriller starring Vin as an intergalactic criminal with built-in night vision debuted in first place with 18.7 million US dollars (£11.9 million), according to studio estimates.

Riddick is the third instalment in the series, following the 11.6 million dollar (£7.4 million) debut of 2000's Pitch Black and the 24.3 million dollar (£15.5 million) launch of 2004's The Chronicles Of Riddick.

Riddick, which finds the alien anti-hero stranded and pursued by bounty hunters on a hostile world, served as a passion project for Diesel and series writer-director David Twohy. After the studio originally passed on funding a third chapter, the pair acquired the rights to the character from Universal and independently secured their own film financing.

"I don't think there were any mistakes made here," said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal, which returned to the fold to distribute Riddick in North America. "Vin wanted to do it. He had to do it on his time. He was very, very busy with Fast And Furious, and I think everything came together as he wanted it to come together."

Riddick also fared well internationally, bringing in an additional 7.4 million dollars (£4.7 million) in 22 markets such as the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.

Lee Daniels' The Butler fell to second place with 8.9 million dollars (£5.6 million) in its fourth weekend at the box office, bringing its total domestic haul to 91.9 million dollars (58.7 million). The Spanish-language comedy Instructions Not Included earned third place in its expanded second weekend with 8.1 million dollars (£5.1 million), giving it a total of 20.1 million dollars (£12.8 million) in US and Canadian cinemas, according to

"Typically, the weekend after Labour Day is one of the slowest weekends of the year," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for "By Universal releasing a brand-new sci-fi movie with one of the biggest stars in the world, they took advantage of that and came out on top with the number one movie. It gave the weekend a nice boost."

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