Underworld a hit at US box office
Kate Beckinsale is back with a vengeance, with her latest Underworld movie opening at number one in the US this weekend.
Underworld Awakening made an estimated 25.4 million dollars, distributor Sony Screen Gems reported.
This is the fourth film in the vampire action saga. Beckinsale starred in the first two movies as the warrior Selene, then bowed out of part three, before returning for the latest instalment.
Underworld Awakening was shown for the first time in 3D as well as on Imax screens, where it made 3.8 million dollars. That's 15 of the film's weekend gross, which is a record for an Imax digital-only run.
Sony had hoped the film would end up in the low-20 million dollar range. But Rory Bruer, the studio's president of worldwide distribution, says the fact that it did even better - despite a snow storm that hit much of the Midwest and East Coast - primarily has to do with Beckinsale's return.
"She is such a force. Her character - you just can't take your eyes off of her. I know the character is very dear to her, as well, and she just kills it," Bruer said. "The 3D aspect of the film also brings something, makes it a fun, visceral ride."
Opening in second place was Red Tails from executive producer George Lucas, about the Tuskegee Airmen who were the first black fighter pilots to serve in World War II.
It made an estimated 19.1 million dollars, according to 20th Century Fox, which was well above expectations. "I believe what George Lucas has stated all along: This is an important story and a story that must be told. It is a true story of American heroism and valour and audiences have really responded to this message," said Chris Aronson, executive vice president of domestic distribution.