Australia scored another local hit last weekend as boisterous comedy The Man Who Sued God chalked up one of the biggest openings of the year in the market.

The film grossed $780,612 (A$1.53m) for Buena Vista International in its first four days from 226 screens. The gross was $102,000 more than Michael Douglas thriller Don't Say A Word, which opened against it on October 25.

A major part of the film's appeal was seen as its star, Billy Connolly, who was pushed heavily during the marketing. The Scottish comedian is viewed as having a brand of humour that clicks with local tastes, and the launch of a biography on him by his wife Pamela Stephenson was tied in.

The story of man who takes on the Church, alleging that it is God's fault that his boat was struck by lightening, is one of four Australian films in this weekend's top 20, a very uncommon occurrence. Lantana has grossed $1.7m (A$3.3m) for Palace and is now in its fourth week, while The Bank has nearly reached $1m (A$2m) for Footprint in nine weeks. By comparison, Let's Get Skase is failing to find substantial audiences.

Another Australian production, Moulin Rouge, has so far taken $80m internationally and is still playing well in most major territories. Recent openings have included last weekend's South Korean debut, where the film grossed $802,000 in two days. In Germany, it scored $3.2m after 11 days, while the UK has taken $23.8m after eight weeks. Additional reporting by Robert Mitchell in London