Sir Ridley Scott's new Oscar-hopeful American Gangster has shot to the top of the UK and Ireland box office after its opening weekend.

The crime epic, starring Academy award-winners Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, took £2.5 million in its opening three days, knocking last week's number one Good Luck Chuck off the top spot.

Washington plays real-life Harlem drug kingpin Frank Lucas in the movie, while Gladiator star Crowe features as the unorthodox New Jersey cop hot on his trail.

Fantasy saga Beowulf, featuring Ray Winstone and Angelina Jolie in a CGI-heavy adaptation of the 1,300-year-old epic poem, entered the chart in second place after its opening weekend, with £2.1 million in box office takings.

And Pixar's latest global hit Ratatouille remained in third spot, taking £937,667 in its fifth week on release.

Last week's number two, Matthew Vaughn's Stardust, fell from second place to fourth, with £902,701, while Dane Cook's romantic comedy Good Luck Chuck dropped from first to fifth.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age, with Cate Blanchett reprising her role as the Virgin Queen was next on the chart in sixth position, while vampiric horror 30 Days of Night, starring Josh Hartnett and Melissa George, was the seventh most popular film of the weekend.

And while Bollywood blockbuster Om Shanti Om finished in a creditable eighth on its second week in UK cinemas, Robert Redford's political drama Lions for Lambs dropped to ninth spot.

Brick Lane, Sarah Gavron's adaptation of Monica Ali's bestselling novel, took £194,745 to round off the top ten.

20/11/2007 17:09:19