Warner Bros scored a surprise hit in the UK this week as its tongue-in-cheek mutant-spider romp Eight Legged Freaks grossed a mighty $1.6m (£1.03m).
Released at 400 sites over the three-day weekend the film, which stars David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scott Terra and Scarlett Johansson, scored a good average of $3,931 and landed third position in the chart - the highest new entry this week - behind Men In Black II ($4.7m at 512 sites) and Austin Powers In Goldmember ($3.2m at 429).
A strong marketing campaign for Eight Legged Freaks, which included trailers with the two major titles ahead of it in the chart, as well as billboards and TV spots, clearly worked to ensnare UK audiences. This combined with a much more positive reception from UK critics compared to their US counterparts. The US opening of Ellory Elkayem's film four weeks ago took just $6.5m from 2,530 venues for an average of $2,563 in three days and to date has grossed a poor $16.5m.
It also benefited from being the only major release debuting in the UK this week and a 12-certificate that allowed for a younger teen audience. The comedy-horror claimed $79,276 (£52,005) from 15 sites in London's West End alone - providing fourth place in the West End chart and a mighty average of $5,285.
Eight Legged Freaks was just one of five new entries in this week's UK top 15 which saw Yah Raj Films' latest Bollywood release, Mujhse Dosti Karoge, take seventh place with a huge three-day take of $311,723 (£204,490) from only 32 sites. This result gave the film the highest site average ($9,741) of any film on release in the UK at the weekend.
Close behind in eighth was BVI's Spy Kids 2: The Island Of Lost Dreams. Taking $189,733 (£124,465) from 91 sites in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland only, the family film, which is a sequel to last year's original, looks set for a strong opening when it opens nationwide on Friday (Aug 16). Spy Kids grossed $12.8m (£8.4m) in the UK in 2001 after opening on April 13 with a three-day launch of $1.7m (£1.1m) at 403 sites. Both films were directed by Robert Rodriguez and feature Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino as the spy-parents of the titular characters played by Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara.
Tom Tykwer's English-language debut Heaven, starring Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi, took 11th place with an okay $118,887 (£77,99) from 39 sites - an average of $3,048. It performed well in the West End taking $45,636 (£29,937) from eight sites for an average of $5,704.
Crawling into position 15 was Metrodome's The Wash with a poor $51,337 (£33,677) from 41 sites - an average of just $1,252. However Metrodome's Lovely And Amazing added two sites and five percent in grossed to its opening last week to take a strong second weekend gross of $56,625 (£37,146) at only 16 sites for an average of $3,539 and 14th place.
The top five was rounded out this week by Scooby-Doo in fourth with $1.4m (£912,771) from 462 sites in its fifth week; and Columbia's Stuart Little 2 in fifth with just a 6% drop off from last week, taking $1.2m (£761,691) at 472 sites.