Science-fiction film Knowing, starring Nicolas Cage, has debuted at the top of the US box office charts.

The thriller, which sees the Con Air actor as an astrophysicist in a race against time to save the world, earned some $24.8 million (£17.1 million) to knock Disney film Race to Witch Mountain from the top spot.

"In a doomsday scenario, dollars and cents don't really matter anymore, and I think that's really appealing to people," said box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of the apocalyptic plot of Knowing.

"Who cares about mortgages anymore if the world's going to blow up?"

Directed by Alex Proyas, Knowing's opening takings were far below that of Cage's previous hits Ghost Rider - $45.4 million (£31.1 million) - and the two National Treasure films - $44.8 million (£30.7 million) and $35.1 million (£24.2 million) respectively.

Comedy I Love You, Man - part of the burgeoning 'bromance' genre about male bonding - entered the chart in second with $18 million (£12.4 million) while espionage caper Duplicity opened in third.

The top ten films at the US box office are: (last week's position)

1 Knowing (-)
2 I Love You, Man (-)
3 Duplicity (-)
4 Race to Witch Mountain (1)
5 Watchmen (2)
6 The Last House on the Left (3)
7 Taken (4)
8 Slumdog Millionaire (6)
9 Madea Goes to Jail (5)
10 Coraline (9)

23/03/2009 11:13:06