Six of the nine major territories saw increases in box office takings this week but drops in the North American and Japanese markets accounted for a virtually static year-on-year comparison, according to the Screen International Screen Index.

Collective global grosses were boosted by just 0.19% compared to the same week last year despite impressive box office takings from Italy, Germany and the UK.

Italy led the increase - the territory was up 52.3% compared to the same week last year - and has so far continued to see box office success since the start of 2007 thanks to local films. While family

adventure Night At The Museum knocked local favourite Manuale D'Amore 2 out of the top spot, raking in a whooping $4.7m in its opening weekend, Manuale still proved its worth and grossed $2.6m its third week. Sony's The Pursuit Of Happyness took $1.5m in its fourth week while new

Italian comedy La Cena Per Farli Conoscere grossed $1.3m. These top four films collectively took 27% more in cinemas than last year's entire top ten.

Germany was also up this week, seeing a 28.9% increase in cinema takings. This was largely due to the openings of family comedy Die Wilden Kerle 4 and Saw III. The two grossed $4.6m and $3.1

respectively. These top two generated considerably more than last year's number one Chicken Little, which took $2.7m in its second week.

Mexican cinemas also fared well from the horror genre this week as KM 31 took the top spot after generating nearly $1.5m, helping to boost the territory by 27.9%. The Spanish and Mexican co-production surpassed last year's US horror, The Fog, which failed to pass the $1m mark in

its first week.

UK audiences were keen to spot potential award-winners as Oscar-nominated films helped increase the territory by 19.9% compared to the same week last year. Blood Diamond crept to number one in its second week, taking $2.3m. Notes On A Scandal and Dreamgirls both opened at the weekend and grossed $2.2 and $2.1m respectively. And animated feature Arthur And The Invisibles generated an impressive $2.3m at the weekend, the highest opener of the three-day period.

While these increases fared well for the global box office, North America 's 13.6% dip dented collective takings. The territory's top film, The Messengers, took $14.7m at the weekend, down 32% from last year's number one When A Stranger Calls.

Japan also fell marginally this week by 7.9% compared to last year despite the continued success of local fantasy Dororo and new entry Battle Of Wits, which took $3.17m and $1.09m respectively.