Setting what other distributors will hope is a precedent, Mission: Impossible 2 has broken the spell of the summer cinema slump in Italy.

Grossing $2.5m from 456 screens and going straight to the top of the chart, M:I2 recorded an unheard of success in the month of July when most cinemas close up for the summer.

Taking 15 times as much as Gladiator at number two in the chart, M:I2 recorded a third best opening for UIP in Italy and the second highest opening this year after The Blair Witch Project which opened in February with $3.6m.

Aided by the gradual opening of several multiplexes in the region, primarily through Warner Village Cinemas, and various initiatives to raise audience awareness of upcoming films during summer, other distributors are following UIP's attempt to lengthen the territory's release season.

Other major openings for the second Ethan Hunt caper include Japan, where M:I2 has become the second highest opening film ever after Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace with its gross of $13.2m from 356 screens.

In Germany, which now fully operates a 12 month season, M:I2 broke the record for the best July opening ever with a four-day gross of $7.7m. And in Spain, the film scooped $3m from 298 screens over three days making it the third best opening ever behind Episode One and The Sixth Sense.

Two all-time opening records were recorded in Austria, where the film grossed $1.3m, and in Russia with a take of $264,297.