Italian exhibitors are buoyant with the results of Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix's opening day, as ANEC, Italy's exhibitor association's president Paolo Protti declares it 'a happy story of a deserved success.'

Potter 5 ranked as the best Wednesday opener ever in Italy - scooping up $2.75m (Eu2m) according to Cinetel, Italy's national ticket compiler.

First day figures are expected to reach $3.025m (Eu2.2m) when Cinetel recounts last ticket data later today.

The young magician didn't surpass Spider-Man 3, which still holds biggest opening day ever in Italy taking $3.7m (Eu2.7m) on May 1 (a national holiday), with the latest Potter instalment trailing behind at second place.

But second place is good enough for the industry as it takes the heat off Italian summer release patterns - Potter's fifth appearance on screens has drawn audiences at a time of year Italian distributors traditionally fear and avoid.

The film was the first mid-summer blockbuster to be programmed in the territory and is opening the gates for other distributors to launch product this summer.

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix also beat out the previous first days of the Potter franchise in Italy. The last installment - Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire - was released on November 25, 2005 and generated $2.06m (Eu1.5m) on its opening day.

While November and December have long been considered the best period for film openings in Italy, it looks like things might be changing.

Italian box office is up January 1-July 11th by 8% year on year with last year's figures. July 1-11th shows the box office has heated up 24.17% year-on-year with 2006.