Pegu's Hostage , the first part of the long-awaited Legend Of King Naresuan trilogy, raided Thailand 's box office over its four-day opening weekend, grossing $2.2m (80m baht) in Bangkok alone, according to distributor Sahamongkolfilm International.

Although it was certainly the biggest opening weekend since 2005 action film Tom Yum Goong scored $2.7m (98m baht) after four days, it fell short of industry expectations. The picture, directed by Prince Chatrichalerm Yukol, was a hugely anticipated follow-up to his The Legend Of Suriyothai which is the highest grossing film ever in Thailand.

The planned blanket release, which aimed for a record 270 prints nationwide, did not materialise until Saturday evening. The picture was only out on 50 prints on its first two days which severely hampered the box office potential. The late arrival of the prints was a direct result of the last-minute editing by the prince director.

The picture, however, still has the chance to recoup the lost revenues as no major local or Hollywood releases are due to open in the next two weeks. It is currently playing on a massive 325 screens from 180 prints in Bangkok alone.

Touted as the most expensive Thai production, the lavish historical epic was in production for more than three years and its release was pushed back several times. Originally developed as a single production, it became a trilogy when there was far too much footage.

As the first part focuses on the childhood of King Naresuan, army officer-turned-actor Wanchana Sawatdee, who plays the king, will appear only from the second part. The second and the last part are expected to open as early as next month and this December respectively.

Sahamongkolfilm also handles the international sales of the trilogy which is likely to be re-edited and repackaged for the overseas markets.