Best movies of the week

Two films shot on the other side of the Tasman head the Australian box office chart this week, with the new Tom Cruise movie, The Last Samurai displacing the final instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in the top spot.

Samurai, which netted $3.4 million between Thursday and Sunday, earned an average of $12,414 on each of its 274 screens - the highest of any top 10 film.

But while displaced from the number one perch, The Return of the King still earned more than $2.4 million to take its overall earnings to almost $38 million, which puts it in striking range of the totals achieved by the two previous instalments of the franchise (Fellowship of the Ring took $47.08 million and The Two Towers $45.65), and sets up the prospect of having all three films simultaneously securing top five positions in Australia's all time box office chart (Fellowship is currently third; Two Towers fourth, and by the time this goes to print, Return of the King will be sixth and closing in on fifth place holder, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone). n the US, the number one film is the romantic comedy Along Came Polly, which stars Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston. With a haul of $27.6 million between Friday and Sunday, the film - on our screens from tomorrow - enjoyed the biggest opening for a January comedy in US box office history, finishing comfortably ahead of last week's number one film, Big Fish, with the biker movie Torque debuting third – informs &to=' target=_blank>THE AGE

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