Buena Vista International (BVI) celebrated its biggest opening of the year so far with a huge launch weekend for Jim Carrey comedy Bruce Almighty. The film claimed the third highest three-day opening of the year so far, behind Warner Bros' The Matrix Reloaded and 20th Century Fox's X2: X-Men United.
The debut gave Carrey a career best three-day opening of $8.3m (£5m) from 446 locations for an almighty $18,611 average per venue. The actor's previous best outing was Warner Bros' Batman Forever in July 1995, in which he played Batman's nemesis The Riddler, which took $7.8m (£4.7m) from 339 sites. This is followed by UIP's Dec 2000 release of The Grinch which claimed $5.1m (£3.1m).
Including three days of previews, giving an additional $3.7m (£2.2m), Bruce Almighty already boasts a $12m (£7.3m) cumulative score.
Directed by Tom Shadyac and also starring Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Aniston the film scored the best ever opening for a live action title distributed by BVI across the whole of Ireland. Released in 78 sites Bruce Almighty took $1.2m (Euros 1m) including previews, ranking behind Monsters, Inc. in the distributor's best ever Irish launches.
In Southern Ireland alone the comedy took a three-day weekend of $609,747 (Euros 533,529) from 55 sites - an average of $11,086 - rising to $766,217 (Euros 670,440) including previews.
BVI also released animated film Piglet's Big Movie at 25 sites in Scotland for a weekend take of $37,602 (£22,787). The title opens in the Republic of Ireland this Friday (July 4) and goes wide around the rest of the UK on July 18.
Last week's UK/Ireland chart leader, UIP's 2 Fast 2 Furious, dropped 53% to second in its second week taking $1.9m (£1.1m). The action title has grossed $8.1m (£5m) after 10 days. Warner's The Matrix Reloaded took third place and has a cumulative score of $51.4m (£31.1m) to date.
Pathe's Wrong Turn opened in fourth with $611,488 (£370,562) from 253 sites. The horror release, which stars Desmond Harrington, Eliza Dushku and Jeremy Sisto placed just ahead of another horror title, Columbia TriStar's Identity, which has taken $4.1m (£2.5m) for the distributor after three weekends on release.
Fox's all-star Nicholas Nickleby adaptation landed seventh place with a disappointing $366,957 (£222,376) from 204 sites for an average of only $1,799.
Showing a much stronger average ($10,323) was Yash Raj Films' Bollywood release Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon. The Indian title claimed eighth place with $309,691 (£187,673) at just 30 sites and provided major competition to Eros International's Chalte Chalte, which dropped 57% from last weekend. Chalte Chalte has grossed $1m (£624,838) after three weeks on release.
The big disappointment of the week came from UIP's Biker Boyz. The film, which stars Laurence Fishburne (currently seen near the top of the chart in The Matrix Reloaded) opened in 11th position with just $107,941 (£65,412) taken from 139 sites - a paltry average of $777 per location.