Homegrown hit Ali G IndaHouse topped the chart in the UK over the weekend. Grossing an impressive $4.6m (£3.2m) from 396 sites, including $352,649 of previews from 338 sites, the comedy vehicle for Sacha Baron Cohen's Ali G character triumphed over an onslaught of children's and family titles. Ali G, distributed by UIP, also scored the best site average of the week, $11,642.
However the weekend was not a complete success for UIP, which also launched Jimmy Neutron - Boy Genius to a disappointing $772,401 (£541,453) from 384 sites for an average of just $2,011. These figures even included Jimmy Neutron's preview figures of $336,034 from 353 sites. Although it managed to claim fourth place in the chart the Nickelodeon-produced picture, which lost out to Shrek in the inaugural Best Animation Film category at Sunday's Academy Award ceremony, paled in comparison to better reviewed Ice Age from 20th Century Fox.
Ice Age, featuring the voices of Ray Romano, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo, also saw a strong opening but was unable to challenge Ali G. The computer-animated tale managed $4.3m (£3.03m) from 423 sites for an average of $10,218, including massive preview figures of $1.6m from 402 sites.
Also opening in the children's market was Buena Vista International's belated Peter Pan sequel, Return To Neverland. With largely negative reviews the film failed to find an audience against Ice Age, Jimmy Neutron and BVI's eighth-placed holdover Monsters, Inc., taking a weak $379,379 (£265,945) from 237 sites - a feeble average of $1,387. In its seventh weekend on release Monsters, Inc. was hit hard by Ice Age's opening dropping six places and 55% from its previous weekend, but it still managed a three-day take of $590,843 (£414,181) at 442 sites to bring its total to a mammoth $51.3m (£35.6m).
Still playing well were third-placed Ocean's Eleven from Warner Bros ($1.2m); BVI's The Royal Tenenbaums, which rounded out the top five with $718,180 in its second weekend on release; and Oscar-winner A Beautiful Mind at six which, in its fifth week, dropped off just 23% from the previous weekend to gross $706,628 - bringing its total so far to $7.1m