British claymation feature Chicken Run beat out two of Hollywood's highest profile summer blockbusters to the number one slot in the UK chart last weekend when it grossed $3.9m (£2.6m) over the three days. After a running total of $21m and 17 days on release, the Aardman animation rules the roost again pushing Mission: Impossible 2 to second place with the new release of The Patriot coming in at number three.
UIP's M:I2 dropped 40% from its opening weekend to gross $3.7m (£2.5m) from 462 sites - three more locations than Pathe's Chicken Run. Meanwhile, Columbia TriStar's major new release, The Patriot, which has come under fire from critics and the press alike, pitched in at number three with just $1.5m from 361. The Mel Gibson vehicle which came under fire for its inaccurate and anti-British portrayal of the American revolution, was further hampered from box office gold with a 15 certificate and a running time of about two and a half hours.
Two more British productions opened last weekend: Thomas And The Magic Railroad which grossed $653,000 from largely matinee performances at 314 sites and Essex Boys which took $169,000 from 54 sites. This weekend, competition for the box office pound increases with Columbia TriStar's nationwide release of Stuart Little (which has already grossed over $1.5m in Scotland and Ireland) and Buena Vista International's High Fidelity based on Nick Hornby's bestseller.