As the end of Italy's eight-month box office seasonapproaches, distributors unleashed a massive seven new releases last weekend.

UIP's monster movie Van Helsing opened with a bang atnumber one at the Italian box office, grossing $3,554,207 from 439 screens foran astounding average of $8,096 per screen.

However, none of the other new openers managed to garnermuch success: Lucky Red's Country Of My Skull, a South African, UK, USco-production directed by John Boorman, was the second biggest new opener atnumber 6, but only earned $359,485 for a poor screen average of $2,115.

Michael Winterbottom's Code UK, which stars TimRobbins and Samantha Morton, equally failed to arouse much interest: theBritish film was released by Domenico Procacci's Fandango on 82 screens, butearned just $114,888 for a low screen average of $1,401.

Buena Vista's Under The Tuscan Sun also flopped, aslocal audiences showed little interest for the film's Italian filming locationor the fact that it stars local hearthrob Raoul Bova. The Audrey Wells movieopened on 19 screens and earned $28,191 for a meagre screen average of $1,484.

On the homefront, Davide Ferrario's After Midnightregistered the third highest per screen average at the box office, after VanHelsing and Nexo's Monster. The Italian picture, about a nightwatchman who guards Turin's Cinema Museum, grossed a further $117,216 from 40screens on its third weekend, for an average of $3,490 per screen.