Ronny Yu's The 51st State opened to a strong reception from UK audiences over the weekend. But it was unable to dethrone reigning box office king, Harry Potter.

Leading this week's releases the action-comedy claimed second position in the chart with an impressive $1.3m (£913,239). Playing at 311 sites the film, which stars Samuel L Jackson and Robert Carlyle, scored a solid $4,201 average. The 51st State is the latest release in a massively successful year for distributor Momentum Pictures which has already recorded its three biggest hits of all-time with The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle ($6.4m), Amelie ($5.9m so far) and Get Over It ($5.2m). The 51st State's opening weekend alone surpassed Yu's last English-language effort, Bride Of Chucky, which grossed $854,223 (£597,102) in 1999 for Metrodome.

Also opening with chart positions were Riding In Cars With Boys and Christmas Carol: The Movie, ranking seventh and eighth respectively. Riding In Cars, released by Columbia TriStar and starring Drew Barrymore, managed $339,455 (£237,279) from 256 sites. Christmas Carol, a UK animated film featuring the voices of Simon Callow, Kate Winslet, Rhys Ifans (who also appears in 51st State) and Nicolas Cage, took $245,459 (£171,576) from 234 screens.

Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone held the top spot for the fourth week in a row with a three-day take of $4.8m (£3.3m) at 501 venues - a $9,553 average. The children's title from Warner Bros is now the highest earner of the year in the UK, and the sixth largest of all-time, with a total gross of $62m.

Performing well from limited release openings but unable to make the chart were Metro Tartan's A Ma Soeur and Pathe's The Believer. A Ma Soeur, directed by Catherine Breillat, recorded the best screen average of the week ($4,589) with a three-day take of $18,359 from 4 sites. The Believer also saw a good average ($2,994) from its $35,927 at 12 sites.

Rounding out the top five were Zoolander ($573,931) at three, The Others ($556,083) and Spy Game ($539,907).