Director Mel Gibson's bloody epic APOCALYPTO debuted at the top spot at the US box office, despite the star's very public arrest for drink driving and subsequent anti-Semitic rant last summer (06).
The film, which is set in the Mayan civilisation and told in an obscure Mayan language, opened with $14.2 million (GBP7.2 million) to claim the top spot.
The movie's debut was modest compared to the $83.8 (GBP43 million) opening weekend of Gibson's last movie, the 2004 religious blockbuster The Passion Of The Christ, which went on to do $370 million (GBP190 million) domestically.
Romantic comedy THE HOLIDAY, starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black and Jude Law, debuted at number two with $13.5 million (GBP7 million).
Animated hit HAPPY FEET and the new James Bond adventure Casino Royale, which had been the top two movies for three straight weekends, slipped to third and fourth places, respectively.
Happy Feet took in $12.7 million (GBP6.5 million), raising its total to $137.7 million (GBP71 million), while Casino Royale grossed $8.8 million (GBP4.5 million), lifting its total to $128.9 million (GBP66 million).
The thriller BLOOD DIAMOND, which is set against Sierra Leone's civil war in the 1990s starring Leonardo Dicaprio, Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly, opened at number five with $8.5 million (GBP4.3 million).
Holiday comedy UNACCOMPANIED MINORS, about a group of kids running amok while stranded at an airport on Christmas Eve, premiered at number six with $6.2 million (GBP3.2 million).