Despite the record-breaking openings recorded by both Warner Bros' Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets and Momentum Pictures' Bowling For Columbine (see separate Screendaily stories) the rest of the UK chart saw relatively small percentage drops from the previous week.
As already reported on this site, the second film in the Harry Potter franchise grossed $16.2m (£10.3m) from 1,275 screens at 524 sites over the three-day weekend. This put it ahead of the $15.2m (£9.6m) taken by its predecessor, Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, making Chamber Of Secrets the biggest three-day opening of all-time in the UK. It has grossed $29.8m (£18.9m) to date including four days of paid previews.
Michael Moore's Bowling For Columbine broke another record, for the highest opening weekend for a documentary in the UK with $249,444 (£157,898) from just 28 screens. The film claimed 10th position in the chart.
The only other opener to make the top 15, at seven, was 20th Century Fox's Super Troopers. The comedy, which features Brian Cox, took a so-so $426,060 (£269,696) from 192 sites - an average of $2,219.
The holdovers on wide release had been expected to take a hit from Harry Potter's opening, particularly given the amount of screens used up by the children's film. However it would appear that as well as audiences looking for alternatives as Potter-fever swept the nation, crowds flocking to the Warner title and unable to see the boy wizard stayed to watch something else.
More adult-oriented titles held up well. Fox's 28 Days Later (placed second) dropped just 28% this week grossing $1.2m (£768,687) from 319 sites over the weekend and bringing its total score to $7.4m (£4.7m). Similarly fifth placed thriller Changing Lanes fell off only 26% in its third week for a $653,807 (£413,860) weekend and a UK total of $3.9m.
Mr Deeds, Columbia TriStar's Adam Sandler comedy showed impressive staying power at three with $991,179 (£627,416) - just 16% down from last weekend. In fourth Vin Diesel action-vehicle XXX, also from Columbia, fell 29% for a weekend take of $698,506 (£442,154). These titles are all expected to take a bigger hit next week with the arrival of more adult-fare Die Another Day, the 20th Bond feature, which as a 12A certificate will compete directly with fellow 12A features Mr Deeds and XXX as well as the other adult-aimed titles currently in the marketplace.
Adding two screens to its print run BVI's Rabbit-Proof Fence went up 4% from its opening last weekend to take $362,417 (£229,410) from 101 prints and a strong average of $3,588 per screen.
Also doing well in the limited release arena was Metrodome's Donnie Darko. The film, which is currently playing at just 52 sites, grossed a further $162,949 (£103,147) over the weekend - just 20% down on last week. After four weeks on release the ensemble film, which features an impressive cast including Mary McDonnell, Drew Barrymore, Jake Gyllenhaal and Noah Wyle, has grossed $1.5m (£940,379) and is expected to pass the£1m mark by the end of this week - effectively tripling the North American gross for the film.
Momentum's The Magdalene Sisters also continued a strong Ireland-only run ahead of its Feb 21, 2003 UK release. Peter Mullan's drama dropped off 16% this week, taking $98,213 (£62,169) from 37 sites. It has grossed $872,054 to date.