Horror flick SAW III slashed the competition at the US box office and debuted in the number one slot taking in $34.3 million (GBP19 million) over the Hallowe'en weekend (27-29OCT06) for the third straight year.
The three-day total compares to an opening of $31.7 million (GBP17.6 million) for Saw II last year (05) and $18.3 million (GBP10.2 million) for SAW in 2004.
The film easily took over the top spot at the box office, bumping last week's winner, THE PRESTIGE, into third place with $9.6 million (GBP5.3 million).
Martin Scorsese's mob tale THE DEPARTED held steady, taking in $9.8 million (GBP5.4 million) to place second for the third-straight weekend, raising the film's total take to $91.1 million (GBP51 million).
Clint Eastwood's World War II epic, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, took fourth place with $6.35 million (GBP3.5 million).
CATCH A FIRE, the South African drama about a black family man driven to rebel against the apartheid system in the 1980s, premiered weakly with $2 million (GBP1.1 million).
BABEL, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, had a huge opening in limited release, grossing $365,801 (GBP203,000) in only seven theatres.
The film traces the consequences of a tragedy in the Moroccan desert back to families in Africa, Mexico and Japan.
The Dixie Chicks documentary SHUT UP + SING debuted solidly in limited release, taking in $50,798 (GBP28,000) in four theaters.