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Box office goes to Underworld

Los Angeles, Sept. 22 (Reuters): Horror is huge at the North American box office.

For the fourth weekend in a little over a month, the top draw was a blood-soaked yarn, this time the low-budget thriller Underworld, which pits vampires against werewolves.

The film led a crowded field of five newcomers by selling about $22 million worth of tickets in its first three days, according to estimates issued yesterday by its distributor, Sony Pictures. Coincidentally, it cost that much to make.

But Underworld was arguably overshadowed by the occupant of the number 10 slot, the arthouse saga Lost in Translation, starring Bill Murray. The acclaimed Focus Features release, from writer/director Sofia Coppola, earned $2.8 million from just 183 theatres in its second weekend. By contrast, Underworld was playing in 2,915 sites.

On the downside, moviegoers decided they would rather see anything else than Woody Allen’s new movie of the same name. The DreamWorks romantic comedy opened out of the top 10 with just $1.7 million, despite an advertising campaign that emphasised its young stars, Jason Biggs and Christina Ricci, rather than its polarising auteur.

Kate Beckinsale plays a vampire warrior battling werewolves in Underworld. Dressed in long black leather coats, like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, Beckinsale’s character goes to war with semi-automatic weapons and lives in Gothic splendour. Directed by Len Wiseman, Underworld also stars Scott Speedman.

Beckinsale, who has also starred in Hollywood blockbuster Pearl Harbor, recently become engaged to marry Len Wiseman. Celebrity television show Access Hollywood, said Wiseman popped the question at a restaurant at the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica, California.

Access Hollywood quoted at the hotel as saying that Wiseman booked the Viceroy’s presidential suite and filled it with the actress’ favourite flowers, lilies, to celebrate. Beckinsale Beckinsale has a four-year-old daughter named Lily.

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