Hellboy II: The Golden Army has smashed its way to the summit of the US box office charts.

The comic book sequel, which stars Ron Perlman and Selma Blair, earned some $35.9 million (£18.1 million) in its first three days on release to push Hancock into second place.

Directed by Pan's Labyrinth helmer Guillermo Del Toro - who is to shoot the two upcoming Hobbit movies - Hellboy II: The Golden Army sees the demon up against a deadly army composed of creatures from the mythical world.

Nikki Rocco, Universal Studios' president of distribution, called the film's success an "incredible result".

"No other studio wanted to do this, but Universal had the wherewithal to do it," she told Variety.

"You had a very talented filmmaker, plus a great marketing campaign that created a huge demand."

Journey to the Center of the Earth, a new 3D adventure based on the Jules Verne classic, was the second highest new entry in third while Eddie Murphy's new comedy Meet Dave took only $5.3 million (£2.7 million) to debut in seventh.

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

1 Hellboy II: The Golden Army - $35.9 million [£18.1 million] (-)
2 Hancock - $33 million [£16.6 million] (1)
3 Journey to the Center of the Earth - $20.6 million [£10.4 million](-)
4 Wall-E - $18.5 million [£9.3 million] (2)
5 Wanted - $11.6 million [£5.8 million](3)
6 Get Smart $7.1 million [£3.6 million] (4)
7 Meet Dave - $5.3 million [£2.7 million] (-)
8 Kung Fu Panda - $4.3 million [£2.2 million] (5)
9 Kit Kittredge: An American Girl - $2.4 million [£1.2 million] (8)
10 Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - $2.3 million [£1.1 million] (7)

14/07/2008 10:27:34