As expected Warner Bros' highly anticipated children's title Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone has laid waste all previous box office records in the UK taking a massive $13,714,811 (£9,600,368) over its opening three-day weekend. This shatters the previous record of $10.8m taken by Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace in 1999.
Including last weekend's two-day previews Potter's UK box office total already stands at $23.3m (£16.3m). Phantom Menace's opening weekend, including previews, reached $13.6m (£9.5m) - unable even to match Potter's total without previews.
However, to its evident advantage Harry Potter, which is based on the first book of JK Rowling's best-selling series, went out on a record number of sites and screens with 507 sites playing the film across 1,168 screens - the first title ever in the UK to go out with more than 1,000 prints. The site and screen averages for the film clearly show that this saturation of the market, taking up nearly 40% of screens in the country, has paid off - with unprecedented figures of $27,051 (£18,936) per site and $11,742 (£8,219) per screen.
Now attention will turn to the other winter event, Entertainment's The Fellowship Of The Ring - the first part of Peter Jackson's The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, which is released on Dec 19 and has also been given a PG certificate, to see if Potter can hold onto these hard-to-beat records. If it does retain them then the next challenger will be next May's release of Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones from 20th Century Fox.