Italian director Fausto Brizzi's second feature Night Before Finals: Today (Notte prima degli esami - oggi) broke records for an Italian film released on a Wednesday earning $1.18m (Euros 900,000) on its Valentine's Day opener. The picture is the sequel to last year's local sleeper hit Night Before Finals.

Today's opening is notable since Wednesday's tickets are sold at a reduced price (Euros 5 compared to the normal Euro 7.50). Managing director of 01 distribution Filippo Roviglioni told that the opening is 'simply brilliant.' The film's run will be increased from 706 screens to 750 this weekend.

Brizzi's first film Night Before Finals was released in February 2006 and won the David of Donatello for best first feature. That film was a nostalgic look back to 1980s Rome high school students confronting their final exams and grossed a cumulative $19.66m (Euros 15m), Roviglioni said.

Although Night now ranks as the top Italian Wednesday opener it follows three Hollywood Wednesday openers: Steven Spielberg's War Of The Worlds; Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ and Andy and Larry Wachowski's The Matrix Revolutions.

Prior to directing, Brizzi had writing credits on the lucrative Filmauro Christmas comedy franchise including Merry Christmas, Christmas in Love and Christmas in Miami.

Night's sequel - which is being coined locally as a 'newquel' tells the story of the same characters from the first film as they are today. The splash entry of Brizzi's film comes at a time when local pics are enjoying a high audience turnout, and through last weekend over all box office is soaring at 79.1% above the same weekend last year.