The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor has failed to unseat The Dark Knight from the number one spot at the US box office, debuting in second.

The third instalment in the Mummy franchise - the first in seven years - opened to an impressive $42.5 million (£21.6 million) and even took the top spot from the Batman Begins sequel on Friday.

But the record-breaking run of The Dark Knight shows no sign of slowing and it grossed $43.8 million (£22.2 million) in three days to stay atop the charts and take its total box office gross to $394.9 million (£200.3 million).

While it has not yet opened in the UK, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor outperformed The Dark Knight globally, taking the international box office crown and exceeding the opening international hauls of its predecessors.

"The decision to add another instalment to this global franchise paid off in spades," Universal president of distribution Nikki Rocco told Variety.

Will Ferrell comedy Step Brothers fell one place to third while Mamma Mia! dropped to fourth and Journey of the Center of the Earth held firm in fifth.

Political comedy Swing Vote, starring Kevin Costner, Kelsey Grammer and Nathan Lane, was the next-highest new entry, debuting at six, while The X Files: I Want To Believe dropped a disappointing five places to ninth in its second week on release.

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

1 The Dark Knight - $43.8 million [£22.2 million] (1)
2 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - $42.5 million [£21.6 million] (-)
3 Step Brothers $16.3 million [£8.3 million] (2)
4 Mamma Mia! $13.1 million [£6.7 million] (3)
5 Journey to the Center of the Earth $6.9 million [£3.5 million] (5)
6 Swing Vote $6.3 million [£3.2 million] (-)
7 Hancock $5.2 million [£2.6 million] (6)
8 WALL-E $4.7 million [£2.4 million] (7)
9 The X Files: I Want To Believe $3.4 million [£1.7 million] (4)
10 Space Chimps $2.8 million [£1.4 million] (9)

04/08/2008 09:06:19