The latest James Bond film Die Another Day has grossed a mighty $1.9m (£1.23m) on its first day of release in the UK.

Opening on Wednesday Nov 20, the twentieth film of the franchise scored a strong $4,502 per site (430 sites). This is particularly impressive given that the opening day was a mid-week, non-holiday launch.

The figures indicate that Die Another Day, directed by New Zealander Lee Tamahori, will continue the franchise's massive popularity in the UK.

The film was released in the UK through 20th Century Fox, the first time the company has handled the franchise since taking over distribution of MGM's films from UIP.

By comparison, Entertainment opened The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring on Wednesday Dec 19 last year for a first day gross of $3.3m (£2.1m). However that film opened at 41 more sites than the Bond film and benefited from many of the country's schools having already finished for Christmas. The Lord Of The Rings went on to take an opening three-day weekend gross of $11.5m (£7.3m) and a five-day launch of $17.5m (£11.1m).

With the added advantage that its running time is just over two hours - slender compared to the near three hour theatrical running time of The Lord Of The Rings - Bond should be set for a stunning opening weekend.

Its five-day launch should see it easily beat The World Is Not Enough's launch (the best of the series) which took $9.9m (£6.3m) from 443 sites, including $1.1m (£685,752) of previews from 363 sites, in November 1999. It will also crush those of Brosnan's previous outings: Tomorrow Never Dies, which claimed $5.8m (£3.7m) from 426 sites in December 1997, and GoldenEye, $5.5m (£3.5m) from 448 in November 1995.

GoldenEye went on to gross $28.9m in the UK and Ireland, Tomorrow Never Dies $34.1m and The World Is Not Enough $47.5m. The UK was the most successful international territory for the latter two franchise entries, accounting for 16% and 20% respectively of the total international tally.