Several box office records have been broken over the Christmas/New Year holiday period in Australia. The Two Towers notched up the biggest ever opening week and Bowling For Columbine the biggest opening week for a documentary. And, as the year closed, Crackerjack became the highest grossing Australian film for 2002.

After recording the biggest opening day of all time with a gross of $2.97m (A$5.23m) from 425 screens - helped by Boxing Day traditionally being the most popular in Australian cinemas -- the middle film in Peter Jackson's epic hobbit trilogy went on to sell $11.1m (A$19.6m) worth of tickets in its first seven days from December 26. Distributor Roadshow is also claiming that the three days it took to gross A$10m ($5.7m) is also a record.

Co-distributors Icon and Hopscotch are confident that Bowling For Columbine will out gross existing number one documentary In Bed With Madonna - which took $1.2m (A$2.2m), on the strength of its record-breaking first week. The Michael Moore satire on America's culture of fear also opened on December 26 and reached $258,000 (A$454,600) in seven days from just 16 screens. The previous top opening week for this genre was held by U2 film Rattle And Hum. It took less than one third of this figure, despite being on six more screens.

Meanwhile the local comedy Crackerjack has taken over from Rabbit-Proof Fence as the biggest Australian film for 2002. At the end of its eighth week it has grossed $4.4m (A$7.7m) after opening on 204 screens on Nov 7.