Christmas blockbuster Natale In India (literally, Christmas In India) has once again demonstrated the money-spinning value of Aurelio De Laurentiis's 20-year-old franchise of low-brow comedies, as it posted total earnings of $23,021,125 three weeks after its release.

Distributed by Filmauro and starring Christian De Sica and Massimo Boldi, Natale In India grossed a further $1,759,397 on the first weekend of 2004, and consolidated its position as the Christmas season's top Italian film.

Hot on its heels is Medusa's Il Paradiso All'Improvviso by Tuscan comic Leonardo Pieraccioni. The comedy about an eternal bachelor who suddenly falls in love, became the top-grossing film of the weekend earning $5,469,641 for a spectacular screen average of $12,870. Released on December 19, Pieraccioni's film has so far grossed $22,285,509.

Meanwhile, Dario Argento's highly anticipated new thriller, The Card Player, opened at number 5 grossing $1,101,223 for Medusa which released the film on 183 prints. The film, about a serial killer who kidnaps an American tourist in Rome and plays a cat and mouse game with the police over the Internet, earned a healthy $6,018 per screen.

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over fared less well: on its first weekend, the Robert Rodriguez film grossed just $621,384 for BVI, earning just $3,488 per screen.