A new fairytale about a princess having to deal with the evil plans of a wicked witch has topped the US box office this week.

Enchanted cast a spell on US audiences over the Thanksgiving weekend, securing with over $50 million (£24.2 million) in takings.

The new children's picture from Disney starts off as an animated film until the elegant monarch-to-be is transported into real life New York city by a conniving sorceress played by Susan Sarandon.

The light-hearted quest to find Prince Charming achieved the second-best ever opening over the period, with only Toy Story doing better business following an $80.1 million (£38.8 million) debut at US cinemas.

Disney president of distribution Chuck Viane told Variety magazine: "People wanted to go out and really be entertained, and Enchanted is one of those unbelievably entertaining movies.

"People were in the mood to laugh. It's been a very heavy fall, and we gave them an opportunity to enjoy themselves."

Another light-hearted family comedy, This Christmas, achieved the second-highest takings over the five-day period - securing $27 million (£13.08 million) in ticket sales this week.

Animated film Beowulf, starring Angelina Jolie, came in third. The movie, which topped the charts last week, grossed $23.3 million (£11.28 million) over the period.

New release Hitman, based on a popular video game, also attracted audiences to the big screen. The film, which charts the adventures of a hired killer, brought in $21 million (£10.17 million) in a weekend that saw many new films open for release.

26/11/2007 07:19:24