Zoolander led a formidable pack of films launching in the UK at the weekend, but Harry Potter and Spy Game remained the true box office winners.
The latest comedy from Ben Stiller won the battle of the openers this week landing in second place with a respectable performance of $965,076 (£676,518) from 304 sites for distributor UIP. Stiller's first directorial outing since 1996's The Cable Guy, Zoolander managed a per site average of $3,175.
Although it beat the $954,947 taken by Spy Game in its second week, Zoolander could not match the Tony Scott thriller's site average of $3,563 from 268 sites. Spy Game, distributed by Entertainment, placed third in the chart.
Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone retained the top spot for a third week, dropping off 31% for a $8.3m (£5.8m) three-day take. The Warner Bros title has already grossed $54.4m (£38.1m) and should easily pass Bridget Jones's Diary ($59.9m) this week to become the biggest film of 2001.
Also enjoying a strong opening was 20th Century Fox's Bandits. Directed by Academy Award winner Barry Levinson and starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett the film grossed $919,074 (£644,305) for fifth place. Playing at 293 sites the comedy-drama took $3,137 per venue.
In at six was the latest comedy from Kevin Smith, Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back. With a three-day take of $544,850 (£381,940) from 251 sites, the BVI film is Smith's best UK opening to date, beating FilmFour's Christmas 1999 release Dogma ($196,077 from 202). Guillermo del Toro's The Devil's Backbone (El Espinazo Del Diablo) also saw a solid opening landing at number 15 with $64,401 (£45,145) from just 17 sites for a $3,788 average.
Faring less well were John Carpenter's Ghosts Of Mars and Todd Solondz's Storytelling. Storytelling fell just outside the top 15, taking $60,581 (£42,467) from 55 sites, a weak average of $1,101. Ghosts Of Mars managed eighth place thanks only to its 154 site release which pulled together a meagre $149,391 (£104,723) - an average of only $970.
BVI's Apocalypse Now - Redux also entered the chart this week, at nine, as it expanded from two sites to 19 in its second week on release. The epic Vietnam-war film grossed $97,505 (£68,351) over the three-day weekend for a resounding $5,132 average.