The UK took yet another positive turn in its road to box-officerecovery with a record breaking weekend for admissions.

The 3.8 million cinemavisits narrowly took the record for highest admissions in a three-day weekendperiod since modern records started in the mid-1980s.

"It was a phenomenalweekend," Mark Batey, FDA'schief executive told Screen International.

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire - which smashed box-office records in the territorywith a $25.6m (£14.9m) gross from nearly 1,500 screens at 535 locations -accounted for the lion's share with three million of the tickets sold.

After a strong October, the UK had a year-on-year box office deficit of just 4% andGoblet Of Firewas considered the first, and most prominent, indicator of whether the UK could buck global trends and match 2004 totals.

According to box-office datacompany Nielsen EDI, after the fourth Harry Potter's first weekend the gap hadalready closed to 3%.

Official October figures forUK admissions are due imminently but the strong monthin expected to close some of the 8.9% year-on-year admissions deficit seen atthe close of the third quarter.

The record admissions werenot purely down to Goblet Of Fire's stunning turn, however.

Despite the massive roll outof the Warner Bros film having an expected knock on effect for other familytitles Nanny McPheeand Wallace & Gromit:The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit (which still didsolid numbers in their fifth and sixth weeks respectively) adult alternativesheld up superbly.

Curtis Hanson's In Her Shoes slipped just 25%week-on-week to take second place, while TheConstant Gardener was only 27% down and Shane Black's Kiss Kiss Bang Bangslipped 32%.

"It isn't just that onemovie and it never is," says Batey. "It's aboutdifferent layers coming together to draw in a mixed audience. One movie isn'tenough."

He cites 2002's still modernadmissions record (175.9 million, compared to 167.3 million in 2003 and 171.3million last year) as being a result of mixed fare late in the year, with thelikes of Die Another Day, Harry PotterAnd The Chamber Of Secrets, 28 Days Later and The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers amongst the titles on offer.

"Cinemas are hungry monstersand they need a variety of product to feed them."

He also sees the heavyUK-feel of current offerings as being a key draw. Harry Potter, The Constant Gardener, Nanny McPhee and Wallace& Gromit are all UK co-productions with distinct UK elements and feature in the weekend's top fivefilms. Other openers this week included UK titles TheLibertine, Stoned and Separate Lies."I believe the Britishness is a significant factor inthe buoyancy of these figures," says Batey.

Another very British titlelaunches this week in the shape of Stephen Frears' Mrs Henderson Presents. The film, whichis distributed by Pathe in the UK and stars Judi Dench andBob Hoskins, looks to play to the growing over 45 demographic but is also beingmarketed to broader audiences.

"We feel we're targeting amarket which is largely uncatered for," says IanGeorge, managing director Pathe Distribution. "Wefeel the themes and style of the film distinguishes it and we are hopefullyselling the concept of a really fun night out for a broad audience."

With its pre and duringWorld War II setting and lead cast of Dench andHoskins, Mrs Henderson Presents willunquestionably appeal to an older audience but, far from being a concern, Pathe embraces this potential.

"A film that skews to anolder audience is not necessarily the handicap that it used to be," explainsGeorge."In the past five years there has been a 38% growth in the 45 yearplus audience, fuelled by such films as CalendarGirls and Gosford Park."

With Mrs Henderson Presents opening in a week of five wide releasein the territory and December's mammoth slate to come the UK certainly looks on track to rekindle former glories.

"With a really strong fourthquarter [the UK] really should be around the 2003/2004 level in admissions, which wouldbe no mean achievement," suggests Batey consideringthe rest of the world's box office concerns.