The opening day (May 16) of George Lucas's Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones has achieved predictably strong results in several major territories for 20th Century Fox.

Unconfirmed figures from the US estimate the second instalment of the Star Wars saga taking well in excess of $25m from 3,161 sites (approximately 6,000 screens) on Thursday. Last year's opening day for Harry Potter - which was a Friday, saw $31.6m.

Last year's late-May four-day opener, Pearl Harbor, grossed an opening weekend of $75.2m at 3,214 sites, while 1997's The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which also opened over four days in late May, took $90.2m from 3,281.

Such positive results for Episode II on a day that should suffer from a greatly reduced audience compared to the weekend looks set to carry the fantasy into the top openings of all-time.

In the UK, where the film saw its first paying audiences in the world - thanks to showings at 12:01 am on Thursday morning - Episode II scored a mighty $3.4m (£2.3m) from 463 sites - also unconfirmed by Fox.

Producer Rick McCallum and C3PO actor Anthony Daniels were on hand at the Odeon Leicester Square - which boasts the country's biggest auditorium with 1,943 seats - to introduce the movie on its first screening and Daniels was on hand for screenings at the cinema throughout the day. Last year's The Lord Of The Rings opening took $5.5m at 470 sites over its first two (school holiday) days (Wednesday Dec 19-Thursday Dec 20). That film went on to take a further $10.7m in the following three-days and over $90m in the UK to date.

Germany also saw a strong turn-out with unconfirmed figures of $2.3m (Euros 2.5m) taken from 877 screens on May 16.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace grossed over $920m worldwide and the entire saga has a combined tally in excess $2.83bn.