FocusFeatures' Lost In Translation scored a trio of sensational European openings at theweekend that far exceeded expectations and sets it up for large expansions thisupcoming weekend.

Sofia Coppola'sacclaimed account of a brief-ish encounter in Tokyo opened through MomentumPictures in the UK and Ireland on 96 prints and grossed $1.47m, reportedly thebiggest ever UK bow for a film on 150 prints or less.

It averaged $15,213 perscreen in the UK and ranked fifth. It was the number one title in London'sWest End, where it saw off the twin challenge of Return Of The King and The Last Samurai with a $505,210 haul from 19 screens.

In Ireland it finishedfourth on $126,168 from 11 screens for a $11,470 average. The film wasscheduled to expand to 140 prints in the UK and Ireland but is now likely torise to between 180 and 200 due to exhibitor demand.

It opened fourth in Francethrough Pathe, grossing $1.28m from 130 prints for a $10,000 per-screenaverage. Again, a larger-than-expected expansion will follow this week.

Lost In Translation's French bow exceeded those of Being JohnMalkovich, Boogie Nights, The Pianist and Sense And Sensibility.

Germany produced $765,415from 88 prints for an unconfirmed fifth place and a per-screen average of justunder $9,000.

Distributor Constantin willlikely expand by around 25 screens, rather than just a several as originallythought, and the film outperformed openings by About Schmidt, Boogie Nights and O Brother Where Art Thou'

It has taken $1.5m afternearly three weeks in Australia, where it is playing on 34 screens and Focus isdistributing through UIP. The running total there exceeds comparable grossesfor About Schmidt, Being JohnMalkovich and Boogie Nights.

'It has been a longand exciting weekend,' Glen Basner, Focus' head of internationalsales and distribution, told Screendaily. 'It's evolved intosomething different from what our distributors thought it would be when theybought the movie. It's very rare that you see something conceived as aspecialty movie become a power in the marketplace.

'This is a movie thatcritics and audiences really like so the word of mouth has been great.Distributors believe in it and are willing to release it in a bigger way thanthey originally expected and the publicity support from Sofia, ScarlettJohansson and Bill Murray has been tremendous and I'm a big believer thatthat really makes a difference.'