This weekend saw a new champion at the top of the UK/Ireland chart. Buena Vista International's Calendar Girls dethroned stablemate Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl to take the lead with $2.8m (£1.76m).

The result provided a strong $6,124 (£3,815) location average from its 462 sites. However, despite a vast array of publicity surrounding the film, the weekend take was lower than many expected. Its average was lower than both The Full Monty (£7,115) and Billy Elliot (£4,600) in 1997 and 2000 respectively.

The weather may have played a large part, with the sun re-emerging and temperatures rising again after a couple of weeks of poor weather.

BVI are unlikely to be too concerned by the underwhelming launch. The nine day exclusive run at the Odeon Leicester Square prior to the wide launch brought in $177,583 (£110,634) from its single screen, which seats nearly 2,000 people, clearly demonstrating the enthusiasm audiences have for the film.

Equally the film is expected to appeal to the elusive older (over 35) demographic who visit the cinema only very rarely and will not necessarily attend on the opening weekend. Instead, they help sustain growth over time, including filling weekday daytime showings - which usually see little attendance outside school holidays. Billy Elliot opened in second place on Sep 29, 2000 but held a top five UK chart position for nine consecutive weeks while bigger Hollywood fare came and went.

The next few weeks will be crucial to Calendar Girls success and will paint a more accurate picture of how it will play out. In 2000 UIP's Billy Elliot saw a 13% rise in grosses in its second weekend, followed by low drops of 15%, 23% and 8% in the following weeks. Billy Elliot went on to gross $29.3m (£18.2m) in the UK and Ireland.