TheUK launch last weekend for Niels Mueller's The Assassination of Richard Nixon gave the film its strongest opening in any territory so far.

The film, which stars SeanPenn, took $295,761 through 66 cinemas - a far higher total than it achieved onits US launch on December 29 last year. In the US, the film had a limitedrelease through ThinkFilm, taking $37, 547 in five cinemas on its openingweekend. It went on to take $708,000 in total.

In Italy, the film opened on100 screens and took $285,000 through Lucky Red Distribution. In France,distributor UFD took $219,000 from 30,272 admissions over its opening five daysat 80 screens last October.

With an all-star cast -including Oscar winner Penn, Naomi Watts and Don Cheadle - one has to wonderwhy the film has performed so strongly in the UK compared to the US.

Metrodome, the film's UKdistributor, highlights the creative marketing campaign it put together for thefilm. Metrodome, which has also handled campaigns for Donnie Darko and Monster,picked up the film at last year's Toronto International Film Festival.

Firstly, there was theeye-catching campaign throughout the London Underground using lift andescalator panels - a UK first, sas Metrodome.

Then there was an engagingwebsite for the film, created by award-winning film specialist design agencyFranki&Jonny. Offering a historicalbackground for the film, viewers can access key information that spans over 70years of US history.

Tom Grievson, head ofmarketing at Metrodome, says: "Wewanted to produce a website that would allow viewers to get an idea of wherethe assassination attempt had come from in a historical context, when theymight not have had the chance otherwise."

Metrodome also set up aninternet blog based on the main character of the film, Samuel J. Bicke. Using a pseudonym, the internet charactersubmitted daily topical entries that climaxed with a supposed assassinationattempt. It proved so successful thatpolice detective agency, the CID, shut down the blog.

The film also received funding from the UKFilm Council's P&A fund which was used to increase number of prints on release and for a TV advertising campaign.

Metrodome says that by positioningthe film as a thriller it attracted both art house and multiplex audiencesthroughout the weekend.

Christelle Randall, head ofpress for Metrodome, says: "Wepositioned Nixon as a bigger film than it was - we've given itlegs. Of course there were obstaclesalong the way, in that we had restricted time with Sean Penn because he iscurrently filming All The King's Men in New Orleans. Therefore, we focused on a more creativecampaign."

Penn gave threeinterviews for the film - for Time Out, Empire magazine and The Times magazine.

Randall doesn't believe thatthe success of the campaign is related to the fact that The Interpreter,also starring Penn, is due out this weekend in the UK. She argues that itscampaign is driven more by Nicole Kidman.

But why, then, has a filmwith very American subject matter been met with more appreciation in the UKmarket'

Randall says: "Maybe it's because Brits respond better topolitical films that attack the "American dream". After 9/11, this kind of material just may not settle well in theAmerican audience."