Family comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop is the number one film in the US for the second week running, it has been confirmed.

The film sees Hitch actor Kevin James as the titular shopping centre security guard who faces off with a gang of thieves.

The Sony Pictures release took an estimated $21.5 million (£15.6 million) in its second weekend on release to hold off the challenge of vampiric sequel Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.

Patrick Tatopoulos' film, a prequel to the first two instalments in the Underworld franchise, debuted in second with $20.7 million (£15.05 million) from its first three days on release - a marked decline from the $26.9 million (£19.6 million) opening of 2006's Underworld: Evolution.

"The weekend was a win-win for us. Fans of the Underworld franchise also loved this one. It is a very positive result," said Rory Bruer, Sony worldwide president of domestic distribution.

"And in regards to Paul Blart, wow. I think everyone likes Kevin James."

Slumdog Millionaire climbed five places having picked up ten Oscar nominations, taking $10.6 million (£7.7 million) as its release was expanded across the US.

However, it was a disappointing weekend for New Line fantasy Inkheart, which could only debut in seventh.

The top ten films at the US box office are: (last week's position)

1 Paul Blart: Mall Cop (1)
2 Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (-)
3 Gran Torino (2)
4 Hotel for Dogs (5)
5 Slumdog Millionaire (10)
6 My Bloody Valentine 3D (3)
7 Inkheart (-)
8 Bride Wars (6)
9 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (11)
10 Notorious (4)

26/01/2009 10:18:05