With two major wide releases following West End platforms and five new entries in the top 25 it was no great surprise that weekend takings jumped 13% week-on-week in the UK and Ireland last weekend. However, total box office was still 6% down on the same weekend last year when Die Another Day and Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets were riding high.
Chart leader Love Actually remained on top slipping just 18% from its first weekend without previews. Entertainment's Christmas family comedy Elf scored a fantastic wide release with a $4.9m take (£2.86m) for a $12,552 location average. This followed a massive two week preview take of $2.8m (£1.65m) and a two week run at London's Odeon West End cinema in Leicester Square ($52,645). Master And Commander followed in third.
Meanwhile, leading the new releases was Yash Raj Films Bollywood title Kal Ho Naa Ho (Tomorrow Is A Maybe) which placed sixth with $751,790 (£436,790), including $100,926 (£58,638) of previews, at 37 sites. In North America, the film grossed an impressive $1m in four days from 52 sites.
The film was written by Karan Johar (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham [K3G]) and directed by Nikhil Advani. It tells the story of a woman with no interest in love following the death of her father, and the two men who love her - a Manhattan bachelor and a terminally ill man who will try to bring the other two together.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai grossed £1.75m in the UK. K3G claimed £2.5m in the UK on its way to becoming the biggest grossing Indian film ever outside India.