The Simpsons Movie was a storming success at the US box office this weekend as it finished miles ahead of other films at number one.

The movie raked in a staggering $72.9 million (£36 million) in its first three days at the box office.

According to the Hollywood reporter, the 20th Century Fox movie, whose characters have been on television for over 18 years, scored the third-highest opening weekend for an animated film ever.

Among animated films only Shrek the Third, which opened this May earning $121.6 million (£60.1 million), and Shrek 2, which sold $108 million (£53.38 million) in tickets, have had better opening weekends.

According to Variety Magazine, Fox has said that the Simpsons movie cost $75 million (£37 million) to make.

Fox's senior vice-president for distribution Chris Aronson said: "We caught an amazing amount of the family audience.

"And that combination of family play and great reviews drove the movie."

"You have a multi-generational effect. That's what hit the nerve," he added.

In other movie news, Warner Bros reported that the success of the first five Harry Potter films released to date would soon make it the largest grossing film franchise ever.

The five films about the boyhood wizard have earned $4.24 billion (£2.095 billion) worldwide beating the $4.235 billion (£2.093 billion) collected by the six movies in the Star Wars franchise.

Harry Potter is only behind the 22 James Bond movies which have earned $4.387 billion (£2.186 billion) in takings worldwide.

And with two books yet to be translated into film the only question is how large the new record will be.

30/07/2007 07:46:44