Despite six out of seven new releases entering the top 15, the top four titles in the UK chart saw no change from the previous week.
The table was led by Columbia TriStar's XXX for the second consecutive week, earning $3.2m (£2m), a 34% drop from its opening weekend, from 435 sites. The action title, which stars Vin Diesel and Samuel L Jackson has already claimed a strong 11-day total of $11.3m (£7.3m).
BVI's Lilo & Stitch held second over the half-term weekend gaining from sites and boasting a four-week tally of $14.5m (£9.3m). UIP's Red Dragon stayed in third with $1.5m (£986,006) and in fourth, dropping off just 9% was Entertainment's My Big Fat Greek Wedding with $1.3m (£806,505).
Of this week's seven new releases the most impressive was Metrodome's limited release of surreal fantasy title Donnie Darko (pictured). The debut feature of 27-year-old writer/director Richard Kelly, the film grossed a magnificent $297,586 (£191,348) from just 37 screens. This awarded the film a mighty $8,043 per location, the highest average of any film on release in the UK over the weekend. It was placed tenth in the chart.
Following strong support and rave reviews from the UK's press, the launch far outperformed the film's North American debut over the same weekend last year when it grossed $110,494 from 58 screens for Newmarket Films. Metrodome's take should have exceeded the North American total gross ($517,375) by the end of next weekend.
Starring hot up-and-comer Jake Gyllenhaal and featuring Drew Barrymore (also serving as executive producer), Patrick Swayze, Mary McDonnell and ER's Noah Wyle in support, Donnie Darko is expected to continue to perform well in the next few weeks off positive word of mouth.
The film performed particularly well in London's West End, placing second, behind only XXX, with an impressive $133,627 (£85,922) from 10 sites - an average of $13,363 per venue. Metrodome will add another 14 prints next weekend and then work the film around the country.
Also doing well, though just outside the chart, at 16, was Momentum Pictures The Magdalene Sisters. Receiving an impressive $119,462 (£76,814) opening from just 31 sites in the Republic of Ireland it scored a good average of $3,854. Directed by Peter Mullan's the film had a strong start ahead of its UK launch, expected around February 2003.
Of the other openers this week, highest placed was BVI's Halloween: Resurrection in fifth. With takings of $808,120 (£519,621) from 319 sites, the eighth film in the Michael Myers franchise, saw a so-so average of $2,533. UIP's Harrison Ford submarine drama K-19: The Widowmaker followed in sixth with $547,686 (£352,162) from 321 venues.
20th Century Fox's High Crimes, starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman, and Entertainment's Simone, headlining Al Pacino, bookended Donnie Darko at ninth and 11th respectively. High Crimes claimed $324,614 (£208,727) from 241 sites for a weak average of $1,347, while Simone managed $229,813 (£147,770) from 161 for $1,427 per location. At 15, Warner Bros' Possession, a drama from Neil LaBute starring Gwyneth Paltrow, took $132,199 (£85,004) for an average of $2,448.