The third instalment in French action-comedy franchise Taxi got off to a racing start in three European territories this weekend.

Taxi 3 sped into top positions in France and Belgium and saw an impressive launch in French-speaking Switzerland to take a total weekend haul of $11.6m.

Launching in France last Wednesday (Jan 29), the film claimed an impressive 65% of the market over its five-day launch with 2,036,368 admissions ($10.6m) taken from 969 screens.

While a long way from the record five-day French opening of 2002's Asterix And Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (2.96 million admissions), which replaced 2000's Taxi 2 (2.95 million admissions) as five-day champ, it is still a mighty launch for the third part of the franchise.

Taxi 2 still holds the French single-day opening (759,000 admissions on March 29, 2000 from 830 screens) and seven-day opening (3.5 million admissions) records. Taxi 3 recorded the sixth biggest single-day opening in the territory. It is handled in France by ARP Selection and Luc Besson's EuropaCorp Distribution.

In Belgium Taxi 3 took $623,861 (Euros 581,438) over its five day opening weekend. Playing on 59 screens for Alternative Films it scored an impressive average of $10,574 per screen.

Despite having to settle for second place in Switzerland the film, which is distributed by Monopole Pathe, took $354,711 (SFR 485,244) from the country's French-speaking region.

Playing at just 21 screens, compared to chart leader Catch Me If You Can's 68, Taxi 3 showed an average of $16,891 over the four-day weekend (Jan 30-Feb 2) - ahead of the Steven Spielberg film's $10,830. Including previews Taxi 3 has taken $396,613 in Switzerland to date. It is currently scheduled to open in Switzerland's German-speaking region on Aug 14.