GN

Los Angeles

A new live-action version of Cinderella has become the latest jewel in Disney’s crown after it topped the US box office in its first week of release.

The film, directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh and starring British actors Lily James and Richard Madden, earned $70.1m (£47m) over the weekend. The success of Cinderella replicates that of previous Disney live-action films including Maleficent. Liam Neeson saw his star falter with Run All Night making just £11m (£7.4m).

The New York crime saga, co-starring Ed Harris, marked the weakest debut weekend for Taken star Neeson as an action film lead. Cinderella follows the box office lead of Into the Woods, based on the Stephen Sondheim musical, which made more than $173m (£117m) worldwide to date.

Live action Disney adaptations of The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast and Dumbo are all on the way. A sequel to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is also due to be released next year.

“Disney is just a well-oiled machine that is firing on all cylinders right now,” said Paul Dergarbedian, senior media analyst for box-office data firm Rentrak. “It’s about this Disney umbrella which encompasses these incredible crown jewel brands they have. Cinderella is just the latest example.”

This year will also see Disney releases The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Elsewhere in the box office chart, last week’s top film, the South African sci-fi thriller Chappie from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, dropped to fifth with $5.8m (£3.9m). Kingsman: The Secret Service and Focus rounded out the top five.

North American box office top five

1. Cinderella    $70.1m

2. Run All Night    $11m

3. Kingsman: Secret Service $6.2m

4. Focus    $5.8m

5. Chappie $5.8m