Buena Vista International recorded their biggest opening weekend of all time in the UK with the release of Monsters, Inc. The latest production from Pixar Animation Studios opened on Friday (Feb 8) to record a three-day gross of $13.1m (£9.2m) - including $3.8m (£2.7m) of previews.

The animated film is the fourth highest opener in the UK behind Warner Bros' Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone ($23.2m/£16.3m including previews of $9.5m/£6.7m), The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring ($15.8m/£11.1m including Wednesday/Thursday opening of $5.3m/£3.75m) and Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace ($13.5m/£9.5m including previews of $2.8m/£1.98m).

Playing at 503 sites Monsters, Inc. outperformed last year's Shrek which had an opening gross of $6.7m (£4.7m) , including $1.3m (£902,736) of previews, from 470 sites on June 29. The two are expected to go head-to-head at this year's Academy Awards when the Best Animated Picture category debuts.

Previous Pixar UK hits include Toy Story 2 ($62.1m/£43.6), A Bug's Life ($41.7m/£29.3m) and Toy Story ($31.7m/£22.3m).

Meanwhile in the US, Pixar announced that 2001 fourth-quarter net income fell sharply from a year earlier, but predicted that the next year's earnings would rise by at least 40% on the back of Monsters, Inc.'s success.

The studio reported net income fell 63% to $13m (25 cents per share) - down from $35.2m (71 cent per share) in fourth-quarter 2000. For the full year, Pixar reported net of $36.2m, down 54% from 2000's $78.4m.