Vampire romance Twilight has made a record-breaking debut at the US box office to claim the number one spot.

Catherine Hardwicke's teen thriller, starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, grossed $70.6 million (£47.4 million) to achieve the best-ever box office debut for a female director.

Some 75 per cent of opening weekend audiences were female, according to distributor Summit Entertainment, and a sequel entitled New Moon has already been given the green light.

"Quite frankly, as we journeyed on this road, from the inception to Comic-Con to announcing we were moving from December, it became a perfect storm," said Summit's president of distribution Richard Fay said.

"It's clear that none of this would have happened had it not been for the incredible popularity of Stephenie Meyer's books," he told Variety.

"Being an old English major, it's good to know that kids still read."

Last week's number one, Quantum of Solace, fell to second as Disney cartoon Bolt took $27 million (£18.1 million) to claim third, though its opening haul was disappointing compared to recent animated hits.

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

1 Twilight (-)
2 Quantum of Solace (1)
3 Bolt (-)
4 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2)
5 Role Models (3)
6 Changeling (4)
7 High School Musical 3: Senior Year (4)
8 Zack and Miri Make a Porno (6)
9 The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (12)
10 The Secret Life of Bees (8)

24/11/2008 09:28:16