Will Smith's new science-fiction movie I Am Legend has raced to the top of the US box office.

With a $76.5 million (£37.9 million) opening weekend the film has recorded the biggest December opening of all time, surpassing the $72.6 million (£36 million) start recorded by The Return of the King - the final part of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

I Am Legend - which sees the Fresh Prince star as the last man on Earth - is the third big-screen adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1954 novel of the same name.

Though the Warner Bros sci-fi flick had a record-breaking opening weekend, 20th Century Fox are celebrating a successful debut for a CGI take on Alvin and the Chipmunks.

After its $45 million (£22.3 million) start, the family film and I Am Legend together accounted for almost 80 per cent of all ticket sales among the weekend's top 12 movies in the US.

While The Golden Compass debuted at the top spot last week, its gross fell a staggering 65 per cent with just $9 million (£4.5 million) in box office receipts to take third place.

Disney's Christmas Enchanted fell one place to fourth, while the Coen Brothers' No Country For Old Men climbed to fifth after a flurry of mentions in the recent Golden Globe nominations.

The top ten US movies are:

I Am Legend, $76.5 million (£37.9 million)
Alvin and the Chipmunks, $45 million (£22.3 million)
The Golden Compass, $9 million (£4.5 million)
Enchanted, $6 million (£3 million)
No Country for Old Men, $3 million (£1.5 million)
The Perfect Holiday, $2.97 million (£1.4 million)
Fred Claus, $2.31 million (£1.1 million)
This Christmas, $2.3 million (£1.1 million)
Atonement, $1.9 million (£944,402)
August Rush, $1.8 million (£894,676)

17/12/2007 11:08:58