Universal's comedy-drama About A Boy went straight to the top of the UK charts with a muscular $5.4m opening this weekend, the third biggest of the year in the UK after Monsters Inc and Ocean's Eleven. The Nick Hornby adaptation, which was co-produced by StudioCanal, Working Title and Robert De Niro's Tribeca Productions, nabbed one-third of the market share and is Universal's highest opener in the UK this year.

Directed by Paul and Chris Weitz, who helmed American Pie, About A Boy averaged $12,101 from 446 sites. The story centres on the exploits of Will (Grant), a carefree Londoner who pretends he has a son in order to meet available women at single parent meetings. He befriends a mother and son (Toni Collette and Nicholas Hoult) and eventually falls for a ravishing young woman called Rachel (Rachel Weisz).

This is the third Nick Hornby adaptation for the big screen, following Fever Pitch and High Fidelity. All three novels were fixtures on the bestseller lists on both sides of the Atlantic, with About A Boy selling more than one million copies in the UK. The movie opens in the US and Canada on May 17.

The film follows a tradition of Working Title comedies starring Hugh Grant opening in the spring in the UK kicked off in 1994 by Four Weddings And A Funeral. That was followed by Notting Hill in 1999 and Bridget Jones's Diary last year.