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Fantastic Four halt US box office slump

Story by: Jack Foley

THE Fantastic Four may have received more negative reviews than positives but they lit up the US box office over the July 8-11 weekend, taking $56 million (£32m) and halting the 19-week slump.

The top 12 films in the US totalled $141m (£81m) - up 2.25% from the same weekend in 2004, according to industry estimates.

The performance came as a huge surprise even to its distributor, 20th Century Fox, who had hoped it would exceed the $40m (£22.9m) mark.

But it immediately led production head, Hutch Parker, to comment: "When you have a weekend like this, you've got to question, what is the relevance of reviewers to viewers at large."

The reviews in question weren't favourable, with the Chicago Sun-Times stating that 'the really good superhero movies, like Superman, Spider-Man 2 and Batman Begins, leave Fantastic Four so far behind that the movie should almost be ashamed to show itself in the same theaters'.

But some tapped into the camp fun, believing it to be an entertaining enough super-hero romp - the Washington Post writing, for example, that it's 'a funky, fun film version of the famous Marvel superhero concoction'.

The movie opens in UK cinemas on July 22.

Elsewhere at the American box office, Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds slipped to second place, while Batman Begins was third, followed by Dark Water and Mr and Mrs Smith.

And with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Wedding Crashers set to debut this weekend, the upturn in box office fortunes is expected to continue for a little while yet.

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