Mel Gibson's 'Apocalypto' edges 'The Holiday'

David Hinckley
New York Daily News

Mel Gibson rebounded from this summer's firestorm over his anti-Semitic tirade during a drunken driving arrest to score a No.1 box-office hit this weekend with the ultraviolent epic "Apocalypto."

"Apocalypto," spoken entirely in an ancient Mayan dialect, earned $14.2 million - a relatively modest sum that was still enough to push it past the new chick flick "The Holiday" at $13.5 million and the animated penguin-fest "Happy Feet" at $12.7 million.

"Apocalypto," a tale of warring Mayans that featured no prominent actors and was heavily promoted by Disney, gives Gibson back-to-back hits in ancient tongues, following the huge success of "The Passion of the Christ."

There had been speculation that "Apocalypto" might suffer from the aftereffects of Gibson's much-publicized meltdown, for which he has apologized repeatedly.

"The Holiday," with Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black, is a sentimental tale of two women searching for romance at Christmas.

"Blood Diamond," an action thriller featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, opened in fifth place with $8.5 million, while the goofy new teen comedy "Unaccompanied Minors" was sixth with $6.2 million.

The top 12 movies of the weekend earned $86.6 million, well below the $115.2 million for the same weekend last year.

Next weekend's openings include "Charlotte's Web," a mostly animated film with Dakota Fanning; the dragon fantasy thriller "Eragon"; and Will Smith in a heartwarming drama, "The Pursuit of Happyness."

The much-anticipated musical "Dreamgirls" is also opening in three cities, including New York.





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