The UK was no exception to The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers box office take over this weekend, with the sequel taking $13.7m (£8.6m) over the three-day weekend and $20.9m (£13.1m) from its five-day launch.
Playing at 501 sites the film, which is distributed in the UK by Entertainment Film Distributors, scored a three-day location average of $27,373. At these it screened on a total of 1,160 prints for a three-day screen average of $11,822.
In comparison, The Fellowship Of The Ring took $11.7m (£7.3m) from 470 sites over its opening three-day weekend and $17.7m (£11.1m) over its first five days.
Continuing to show strength in the holiday market were holdover titles Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets ($1.87m for a $73.3m cumulative gross) at two, Die Another Day ($1.86m for $46.8m total) in third and The Santa Clause 2 ($1.8m for cumulative of $8.9m) at four.
New release alternatives came most prominently from Buena Vista International's Sweet Home Alabama and Bollywood release Kaante. Sweet Home Alabama, a romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, claimed fifth place with a good launch of $1.2m (£758,267). Playing at 337 locations the film scored a site average of $3,606.
Bollywood Pictures' Kaante, a gritty crime thriller from director Sanjay Gupta, took seventh with a weekend gross of $174,274 (£108,747). Showing at just 30 venues the film managed a strong average of $5,809 - second only this weekend to The Lord Of The Rings.
Kaante stars a host of top Bollywood stars including Amitabh Bachchan, Sunil Shetty and Sanjay Dutt, alongside singer-turned-actor Lucky Ali. The story of six bank robbers is a Bollywood rehash of Quentin Tarantino's 1992 hit Reservoir Dogs. Kaante also opened in North America last weekend where it grossed an equally impressive $425,975 from 26 locations for an average of $16,384. It is distributed in the US by Media Partners.
Another Bollywood title also made the chart in the UK this week. Yash Raj Films opened Saathiya at 20 sites for a $67,229 (£41,951) three-day gross. The romantic drama, directed by Shaad Ali, landed in 11th position and recorded a site average of $3,361.
Meanwhile UIP's animated release, Hey Arnold! The Movie disappointed with a $57,502 (£35,881) bow that left it in 12th place. Opening at 152 sites the film managed an average of just $378 per site.