After a series of generally low-key limited releases George Clooney's directorial debut, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, received a boost to its international box office last weekend with a number one bow in Italy.

The territory is the first to provide the comic-drama, which is based on the 'unofficial autobiography' of Chuck Barris (who rose to fame as the producer of US game shows in the 1960s and '70s), with a first placed ranking and a $1m opening weekend.

Local distributor Eagle Pictures also gave the film its widest release for any of the international territories that have received it so far, on 285 screens. This resulted in Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind finishing ahead of three other openers (FilmAuro distributed Van Wilder, UIP's How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days and Warner Bros' Ghost Ship) and knocking two week leader Johnny English off its perch. Confessions grossed $1.2m (Euros 1.1m), including previews, over the weekend (April 25-27) in Italy.

Also opening in Germany last weekend, for Buena Vista International (BVI), the film received a more limited launch on 103 screens for a ninth placed four-day opening of $285,529.

Confessions' previous widest release had been the UK's 201 site launch on March 14 when it grossed $566,968 (£356,623) in sixth place for BVI. The film launched in Ireland on April 18 for a first week take of $44,331 from five screens, a strong screen average of $8,866. The UK/Ireland is currently the film's highest earning international territory with a cumulative score of $2.2m after seven weeks on release.

In Belgium, where the film is distributed by Kinepolis Film Distribution and RCV, it has brought in $230,333 after five weeks. It opened in the territory in seventh place with $99,226 from 14 screens, including previews. RCV also handled Confessions in The Netherlands where it opened on March 6 with $37,390 from 15 screens.

Skifan earned the film a third placed chart position in Iceland on April 11, when it opened on just one screen to take $7,859 (ISK 592,900) in its first three days. The Icelandic cumulative stands at $21,480 after 17 days.

UIP will release Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind in Hungary on May 1. This is followed the next day in Norway where the film is distributed by Columbia TriStar/Nordisk Film - which also handles the film in Sweden, where it has taken $46,638 (SKR 385,976) off seven screens in 10 days after a second weekend rise of 15% over its launch weekend, and Finland.

After launching in Denmark for Constantin Film on May 15 the next major European territory to receive Clooney's film is France on June 11, handled by TFM Distribution.

Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind stars Sam Rockwell as Barris with support from Clooney, Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore and Rutger Hauer. It has grossed $4.9m internationally so far and $16m in North America for Miramax, where it will receive a wider release on August 1.