The London Film Festival appeared to weather the opening of Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone in its middle weekend to hit 106,000 admissions on Sunday, according to the festival's figures.

With five days to go, the tally puts the event on course to beat last year's total sales of 112,000. Despite Harry Potter, admissions rose over the weekend as the gala screening of Monsters, Inc. on Saturday sold out even though it was another family film.

Average attendance per film should also be up as this year's event, which runs from November 7-22, has 25 fewer screenings than 2000's event.

The biggest highlight of the event so far has been the opening night's world premiere of Robert Altman's Gosford Park. The film's mostly British ensemble cast took to the stage along with Altman, while critical reaction was enthusiastic.

But proceedings have been marred by no-shows from stars such as Bruce Willis, Martin Sheen and Peter Fonda. A festival spokesperson denied reports that audiences had booed at a video message sent by Willis for the UK premiere of Bandits in which the absent star gushed: "I love England."