It was a complicated picture this weekend for the UK and Ireland chart as three films vied for the lead while BVI saw vastly different receptions for two new releases.

Entertainment's Dawn Of The Dead figures included previews figures of $544,425 (£299,434) without which it would rank third over the three-day weekend. Starsky & Hutch held up well against new competitors with a 32% drop in its third week on release and second on wide release.

Meanwhile Icon Film Distribution's The Passion Of The Christ also played previews on Wednesday and Thursday (March 24/25) in the UK of $568,733 (£312,803) which were not included in the weekend figure - but just added into the total gross - as the film had already launched in the territory by opening in the Republic Of Ireland two weeks earlier. With these previews added to the most recent weekend it would have topped the table with $3.67m (£2m).

Either way it was an almighty opening that qualifies The Passion as the biggest foreign language opening of all time. The result eclipses Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's $1.25m (£686,386) - the previous record holder - though it should be noted the Columbia TriStar film opened at 88 locations in January 2001 compared to Passion's 323 sites.

Columbia's Welcome To The Jungle (released in the US as The Rundown) saw a solid opening in fourth.

Meanwhile Buena Vista International had a spring chicken and a lame duck. The Station Agent opened to strong reviews at a limited 58 sites before going slightly wider next week. The comedy-drama landed 12th position and a good $3,040 average.

However BVI would have been less pleased with the results for romantic drama Under The Tuscan Sun. The Diane Lane film opened at 245 sites with weekend figures including previews of $51,247 (£28,186). Even with previews this amounts to a weak $1,510 average.

Next weekend sees the Easter holiday onslaught begin with The Cat In The Hat and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed leading the fray.