Mirroringits strong openings in Canada and the US, Entertainment Film Distributorslaunched supernatural thriller White Noise into the lead at the UK boxoffice.

Grossingan excellent $3.3m (£1.8m) from 314 sites the Canadian-British co-productioneasily beat the wide release of Martin Scorsese's The Aviator and fellowopener Alexander. One factor in White Noise's favour was its 95minute running time allowing more showings per screen than its two main rivalswhich both have near three hour running times.

WarnerBros' Alexander took $1.9m (£1.04m) over the three-day weekend but hadpreviews of $301,758 (£161,558) which are traditionally included in an openingweekend and therefore pipped The Aviator into second place on the tablewith $2.2m (£1.2m). It was a good start for the critically mauled film.

Overthe actual three day weekend, The Aviator was second with $2.2m(£1.16m). The Oscar-tipped film opened wide on Thursday and grossed $289,085(£154,773) on that day, figures for which are included in the total gross asthe film had already been open for two weeks on platform release at London'sVue West End.

Ofthe two three hour epics Alexander did have a 130 site advantage over TheAviator, which as a result saw a far superior $7,600 (£4,071) site average -a great result for such a long film.

Alsolaunched to great effect was Vera Drake which gave Mike Leigh hisbiggest UK opening to date and distributor Momentum Pictures a great start tothe year (see separate story on ScreenDaily.com).