Dark Knight at box office summit

The Dark Knight Rises stayed atop the US box office for the second straight weekend, making just over 64 million dollars, although it is lagging behind the staggering numbers of its predecessor, 2008's The Dark Knight.

The final piece in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy has now grossed more than 289 million dollars in its first 10 days in cinemas. It dropped 60 per cent from its opening weekend of 160.9 million.

By comparison, The Dark Knight took a 53 per cent drop in its second weekend with a gross of nearly 75.2 million dollars and a 10-day cumulative gross of 313.8 million.

Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros, declined to comment on the Sunday estimates again out of respect for the victims of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting that left 12 people dead and another 58 injured at a midnight showing of the film on opening night.

In second place this weekend was the animated family film Ice Age: Continental Drift, which is still going strong in its third week. It made 13.3 million dollars for a US total of nearly 114.9 million. The fourth movie in the 20th Century Fox franchise features the voices of Ray Romano, Denis Leary and Queen Latifah.

Both of the new movies in wide release opened weakly. The 20th Century Fox comedy The Watch came in third place with 13 million dollars. Big-name comic actors Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill play a group of guys who come together to form a neighbourhood watch; despite the star power, the film was panned critically, receiving only 14 per cent positive reviews on the Rotten Tomatoes website.

Step Up Revolution - the fourth film in the dance franchise, which is set in Miami this time - opened at number four with 11.8 million dollars.