He may have been rendered unfit for the first of the World Cup qualifying matches, but David Beckham has scored a winning goal at home - at least in the form of a British movie named after him.

Scoring $2.9m (£2.0m) over its opening weekend from 384 sites, British comedy Bend It Like Beckham has proved that the UK can produce successful local films as well as any other European territory.

The film's opening bodes well for its future at the box office, and not just on home ground. In comparison, 2000's Billy Elliot opened on 335 UK sites with a weekend gross of£1,541,109 ($2,214,237) - and went on to gross a total of£18.2m ($26.2m). Elsewhere Billy Elliot also found appreciative audiences, with a total of $22m from the US and a global total of $106m.

Similarly, a previous British film with an Indian story-line, East Is East opened on 79 sites in the UK with£435,009 ($625,013) - going on to gross£10.4m at home ($14.9m) and a total of $28.9m globally.

The success of the Gurinder Chadha film, which stars Parminder K Nagra as a female footballer whose dreams of becoming a professional conflict with the plans her disapproving Indian family, is a huge boost for local distributor Helkon SK. The company handled Chadha's previous title, What's Cooking', last year for a total gross of $287,441 (£200,059). The strong opening of Bend It Like Beckham suggests it could out-perform Helkon's entire 2001 slate of six pictures, which totaled $17.1m (£11.9m).

The film, which scored a strong site average of $7,490, also features Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Anupam Kher and Juliet Stevenson. Chadha's previous highest grossing title in the UK was Bhaji On The Beach, which grossed $444,993 (£309,715), in 1994 for First Independent.