A host of new openers were unable to dislodge Columbia TriStar's Spider-Man from the top of the UK chart this week. Now in its third week on release the blockbuster dropped off 39% from its previous weekend taking $3.97m (£2.6m) from 507 situations. The film faces stiffer competition this coming weekend from Steven Spielberg's Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell.
Notably the most impressive performer amongst the openers was Optimum Releasing's 10 print release, The Lawless Heart. The UK film, which tells three interconnecting stories about people whose lives are impacted by the death of a gay restaurateur, totalled an impressive $60,087 (£39,417) for a powerful average of just over $6,000 - second only to Spider-Man of all the films currently on release.
Due to its very limited release The Lawless Heart narrowly missed out on a chart position, landing in 16th place. The drama was written and directed by Tom Hunsinger and Neil Hunter and features an ensemble cast including Bill Nighy, Douglas Henshall, Tom Hollander and Josephine Butler.
The other UK release this week included FilmFour International's Birthday Girl, which claimed seventh place with a so-so take of $361,532 (£237,16) at 133 sites. The $2,718 site average pales beside its home-grown competitor despite the presence of Nicole Kidman - considered cinematic hot property after last year's Moulin Rouge and The Others. Birthday Girl co-stars Ben Chaplin.
If Chaplin couldn't hit the box office heights with Birthday Girl he managed it with the week's highest new opener, second-placed Murder By Numbers. The Barbet Schroeder film, which stars Sandra Bullock, Chaplin and The Believer's Ryan Gosling, managed $1.1m (£729,164) from its 324 sites for Warner Bros. The thriller saw a respectable average of $3,431.
Three other openers found places in the chart. UIP launched Big Fat Liar, a comedy featuring Malcolm In The Middle star Frankie Muniz, to a $619,063 (£406,105) three-day take from 214 sites and fourth place. Columbia TriStar's critically-mauled Rollerball remake landed ninth with a weak $207,688 (£136,243) at 179 sites - an average of just $1,160.
Not matching the performance of its stable mate, The Lawless Heart, Optimum's other release of the week, Martin Lawrence-Danny DeVito comedy What's The Worst That Could Happen', landed position 13 with a take of $105,479 (£69,194) from 82 sites - a lacklustre average of $1,286.
20th Century Fox saw two of its titles rounding out the top five with Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones taking third - its total UK gross now stands at $54.7m (£35.9m) - and Unfaithful landing fifth - the adult thriller has managed $4.8m after four weeks.