UIP is looking forward to this weekend's UK opening of Hannibal after seeing record takings from its Valentine Day's preview on Wednesday night. The sequel to 1991's The Silence Of The Lambs took an massive $1,129,313 (£708,355) from the 358 sites participating in the preview screening. The figure is the highest single night preview recorded by UIP and only serves to increase expectations for its three-day opening weekend. The film is released in the UK on Friday at 425 sites with 610 prints.

Stuart Boreman, UCI's film buying director commented: "Last night's box office takings for Hannibal were astounding and if the previews are indicative of expected business levels this weekend, we can safely say that Hannibal will become one of the busiest and certainly the most successful 18 certificate films of all time."

In order to take the title of most successful 18 certificate film, Hannibal will need to beat last year's Guy Ritchie-directed film Snatch, distributed by Columbia TriStar, which scored $4,602,029 (£3,180,002) over the September 1-3, 2000 weekend. Hannibal is well on its way to achieving this feat as Snatch's previews, included in the opening weekend figure, were $792,172.

The Silence Of The Lambs was originally released at the Odeon Leicester Square on May 31, 1991 where it took $229,962 (£158,904) over its three-day platform release before taking a $3,361,619 (£2,322,879) three-day figure when it opened wide at 281 sites on June 7. The film, distributed by Rank, went on to gross $24,774,722 (£17,119,333).