Despite facing fierce competition from the hottest weekend in the UK so far this year, the day-and-date launch of Austin Powers In Goldmember gave a smouldering performance at the box office.
The comedy, the third in star Mike Myers' and director Jay Roach's franchise, took a massive $8.76m (£5.6m) from 446 sites over the weekend - including $1.2m (£782,908) of previews at 359 sites on Thursday - for UK distributor Entertainment.
Although the results for Goldmember were slightly below those of Powers sequel The Spy Who Shagged Me, which grossed $9.4m (£6.0m) from 442 sites over the same weekend in 1999, it was able to boast the fourth highest opening of 2002 and Entertainment's third highest opening ever, after The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring and The Spy Who Shagged Me. It also led the box office for the weekend to a 19% week-on-week rise and a massive 34% year-on-year rise.
These results are no mean feat considering the weather. The UK enjoyed temperatures of up to 30°C (90°F) over much of the weekend. The combination of Austin Powers and the heat caused takings for the holdovers in the top 15 to drop off by an average of 58.6% from the previous weekend. Powers accounted for over 52% of the weekend's total box office revenue.
Adult-themed holdovers suffered the worst with titles such as third-placed Minority Report dropping 55% and seventh-placed Resident Evil falling 68% despite maintaining site numbers.
Children's titles fared only slightly better. Scooby-Doo took second position with $2m (£1.3m) at 468 sites, a drop off of 49%. Last week's opener Stuart Little 2 saw the smallest percentage fall (35%) in the top 15 with landing fourth place with $1.4m (£877,159) at 476 sites.
Three other openers made the chart this week. 20th Century Fox's The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, starring Steve Irwin, took fifth position but only managed $418,187 (£266,803) in receipts from 258 sites - a weak average of $1,621.
The latest Indian title on release, Yeh Hai Jalwa, slipped into 13th position with an opening take of $54,321 (£34,657) at 16 sites. This was followed in 14th by John Sayles ensemble drama Sunshine State which managed $40,577 (£25,888) from 15 sites for an average of $2,705.
Also enjoying a healthy average was the director's cut release of Milos Forman's Oscar-winning Amadeus. The Warner Bros' title launched at just eight sites to take $31,038 (£19,802) for an average of $3,880 some 18 years on from its original 1984 release. Amadeus was awarded eight Academy Awards and including best picture, best director and best actor for F Murray Abraham. It grossed $3.9m (£2.5m) on its initial theatrical release.