Handled by UIP, Bridget Jones's Diary achieved record opening figures in its crucial UK home market.

Including two days of previews on Wednesday and Thursday, before its official opening, its $8.24m gross take (£5,720,292) from 417 sites makes it the biggest opening of all time for a British-made film.

Even discounting the preview figures, which account for $1.64m (£1,140,287) of that total, the comedy still finished ahead of Notting Hill's $6.23m (£4,323,678) achieved in that film's second week of wide-release and last year's animated hit Chicken Run $5.54m (£3,848,755).

The film recorded a massive per-theatre average of $19,740 (£13,718). Living up to its advance expectations, The Working Title-produced Bridget also opened strongly this week in the US, where it is handled by Miramax Films (see US Box office comment).

The only films in a position to dispute Bridget's crown at the UK box office are two with significantly less British creative input: Hannibal with $9.22m (£6,402,540) and MGM's James Bond adventure The World Is Not Enough $9.04m (£6,273,584).

(A conversion figure of $1 = £0.694 has been used throughout.)