‘Compass’ on top Down Under

Film leads Australian box office

“The Golden Compass” topped the Aussie box office, earning A$1.6 million ($1.4 million) on Dec. 26. Boxing Day, as the day after Christmas is known, is the busiest day of the cinema year Down Under.

Total one-day B.O. haul was $5.75 million, down slightly vs. 2006, which soared thanks to the hometown release of “Happy Feet.”

This year “Aliens vs. Predator — Requiem,” was the second most popular release, grossing $959,563, and Disney’s “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” which opened Dec. 20, grossed $766,778 on the Boxing Day holiday.

“Enchanted” ranked fourth, earning $742,353, and “Atonement” was fifth, earning $450,122.

Last year “Happy Feet” snagged $2.09 million in a single day as poor weather across most of the country generated robust cinema traffic.

The Oz box office total for 2007 is tracking ahead of 2006. Final figures due to be released mid-January will show “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” as the highest-grossing title, having earned $31 million.

“Shrek the Third” crunched $29.4 million and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” carved out $28.7 million, the second and third most-seen movies locally.

“Happy Feet” earned $2.09 million but because it was released on Boxing Day 2006, just $27.7 million of its total was recorded for calendar year 2007, earning it the eighth spot on the rankings.

To date, “The Simpsons Movie” ($27 million) is ranked fourth, “Transformers” ($24.3 million) fifth, “Spider-Man 3” ($20.8 million) sixth and “The Bourne Ultimatum” ($19.1 million) seventh.

Also in the top 10 are “Night at the Museum” ($15.3 million) at No. 9 and “Wild Hogs” ($15 million) in the 10th slot.

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