Buena Vista International (BVI) scored a hit this weekend with its Alaskan-set thriller Insomnia. Opening with an impressive $1.8m (£1.16m) over the three-day weekend, the film saw off all comers to claim the number one slot in the chart.
The latest film from British director Christopher Nolan (whose previous title Memento grossed $2.4m for Pathe in 2000 and went on to build a strong following on video), Insomnia played 264 sites scoring a powerful average of $6,800 - over $2,500 per screen higher than the film with the next highest average of the week, second-placed The Guru. The thriller grossed $327,768 (£211,738) from 16 sites in London's West End alone.
As well as outperforming recent potential blockbusters such as UIP's The Sum Of All Fears, which opened with $1.77m (£1.14m) at 346 sites three weeks ago, Insomnia also gave BVI its second biggest opening weekend of the year - behind February's Monsters, Inc. which grossed $10.0m (£6.5m) in its opening three days. This put it ahead of the company's entire summer slate which included Spy Kids 2: The Island Of Lost Dreams (now at seven after four weeks on release with a tally of $5.1m) and last week's release Reign Of Fire ($3.6m after 10 days on release and currently fourth-placed).
The week's other openers fared less well. Columbia TriStar's comedy The Sweetest Thing, starring Cameron Diaz, disappointed with $917,526 (£592,722) from 307 sites to take fifth position. Equally lacklustre was 20th Century Fox's Windtalkers. Directed by John Woo and starring Nicolas Cage, the war action-drama managed only ninth position with $600,947 (£388,212) at 294 sites.
However failing even to secure a place in the top 15, the real disaster came in the form of critically-mauled Eddie Murphy comedy, Pluto Nash from Warner
Bros. With just $135,418 (£87,480) from 159 sites the film achieved the dubious honour of having one of the year's 15 weakest site averages at $852 per site.
UIP's The Guru played well in its second week, dropping off 33% from its opening taking $1.6m (£1.0m) from 371 sites for an average of $4,253. Columbia's Men In Black II placed third with $1.2m (£782,639) from 428 sites over the weekend bringing its total UK gross to $31.4m (£20.3m) after five weeks.
MIIB is one of three films, with Warner's Scooby-Doo and Fox's Minority Report, to pass the£20m mark in the UK during the past week. Five others titles had already succeeded in doing so in 2002: Monsters, Inc., Ocean's Eleven, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones, Spider-Man and Austin Powers In Goldmember.