With Toy Story 2 still rooted in the UK's number one slot and Three Kings, The Green Mile and The Talented Mr Ripley holding over for the second week in second, third and fourth place, competition for box office dollar among the weekend's openers was intense. But it was Entertainment's Next Friday (pictured) starring Ice Cube which came off best on a screen average basis.
The sequel to New Line's 1995 release Friday took £187,378 from just 50 screens, the highest screen average of the weekend, excluding Imax films. After Friday built a significant following through video and DVD, Next Friday had huge success in North America grossing $16m on its opening weekend before running in a total tally of $55m. A similar pattern was observed with New Line's two Austin Powers films, with the sequel capitalising on the video success of the original.
Nominated for seven Oscars including best picture, the BVI release of The Insider grossed £437,078 in its first three days making it the weekend's highest new release at number seven in the chart. The Messenger: Joan Of Arc battled her way to 11th place, taking £94,012 from 55 screens.
But the opening performance of the British comedy Whatever Happened To Harold Smith will only have compounded the recent media criticism unleashed on UK lottery funded films. The Intermedia/West Eleven production, with additional funding from the Arts Council Of England grossed £137,309 from 207 screens taking a disappointing screen average of £675. The film, directed by Peter Hewitt (The Borrowers), was panned by critics and just scraped into the chart at number nine.