Defying global patterns, Italian comic sensation Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo's new film, The Legend Of Al, John And Jack has knocked Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets off the number one spot at the local box office just one week after its release.

The Legend of Al, John And Jack scored a three-day gross of Euros 5m on its opening weekend from 435 screens, with a massive screen average of Euros 11,509.

Meanwhile, on its second weekend Harry Potter grossed Euros 3.3m from 569 screens - a 32% slump from its opening weekend of Euros 5.4m from 648 screens. Its cumulative gross to date is Euros 9.7m.

The Italian comic trio had already given distributor Medusa proof that it had struck box office gold with them in 2000, when their previous movie, Ask Me If I'm Happy grossed Euros 28.5m and became the year's number one movie within just two weeks of its release.

While Fininvest-owned Medusa will again be laughing all the way to the bank over the festive period thanks to Pinocchio - which has so far grossed Euros 25.9m - and The Legend of Al, John and Jack, 2002 will have been a year of mixed fortunes for Italian films.

The number of Italian films and co-productions released at the local box office in 2001-2002 grew to 210 from 2000-2001's 179 (a 4% rise). However, these films attracted fewer spectators - 16.2m compared to the previous year's 17.6m - and grossed Euros 94m - 2.3% less than the previous Euros 98.3m.

However, overall box office and audience figures for films of all nationalities climbed to Euros 495.1m and 84.4m spectators, compared to the previous year's Euros 461m and 82m spectators.