Highly-anticipated British title Billy Elliot has failed in its bid to take the number one spot at the UK box office over the weekend. The release of Columbia Pictures' Hollow Man crept into the top of the chart by a slim margin of $138,000 (£93,277).

However the widely-feted Billy Elliot opened with a healthy three-day gross of $2.2m (£1.5m) from 335 sites giving it a robust site average of $6,805 (£4,600) - an impressive opening for the low-budget BBC/Working Title/Tiger Aspect production.

Hollow Man's opening gross of $2.4m (£1.6m) from 361 screens, gave it a similar, although slightly lower, site average of $6,697 (£4,527). The 18-certificate film, which was also backed by an extensive TV advertising campaign, is directed by Paul Verhoeven and stars Kevin Bacon and Elisabeth Shue.

However, UIP's release of Billy Elliot is expected to take more than Hollow Man when compared over the opening seven-day period.

The 20th Century Fox release of low-budget British film The Full Monty in 1997 also surpassed Billy Elliot in its opening weekend when it grossed $2.35m (£1.59m) from a lower screen count of 224. It continued to maintain a screen average of more than $7,500 (£5,000) for eight weeks before ending its exceptional run with a final tally of $77m (£52m).

Elsewhere in the chart, last weekend's number one, Me, Myself And Irene, dropped 34% to third place with a three-day gross of $1.2m (£797,489), closely followed by Scary Movie in fourth place with a weekend take of $1.1m (£733,755).

Snatch, which has scooped $16m (£11m) to-date, grossed $0.7m (£0.5m) over the weekend to take the number five slot in the UK chart. Guy Ritchie's follow-up to Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels was released by Columbia TriStar last month at 389 sites. On its opening weekend it grossed $3.8m (£2.6m), excluding previews of $0.8m (£0.54m), picking up an excellent site average of $10,000 (£6,762).