Fuelled by Toy Story 2, box office revenue for the UK and Eire during the first three months of this year has risen by an impressive 21% compared to the same period last year. The $258m (£163m) taken from January to March also exceeds the blockbusting period in 1998 when Titanic drove box office levels to an all-time high of $253m (£160m).

Disney/Pixar's animated picture Toy Story 2 - which broke the record for the highest three-day gross in February with $12m (£7.6m) - scooped the lions share of revenue during the first quarter with $65.6m (£41.5m). February was one of the best months on record taking $123.4m (£78m) - a 35% increase on the same month last year.

Admissions reflect this bonanza period at British cinemas but to a far lesser extent, emphasising the underlying rise in ticket prices over the last two years. According to Carlton Screen Advertising (CSA), first quarter admissions this year amounted to 39 million - a 12% increase over 1999's 34.5 million. However, ticket sales were not high enough to surpass the same period in 1998 when 41.2 million cinema-goers clocked in at the cinema.

Despite the expected negative impact of Euro 2000 on cinema attendances, CSA predicts admissions will reach 144 million in 2000, up 5 million from last year.