Japanese action title Umizaru 2: Test Of Trust, about a teamof coast guard divers, has scored the biggest opening of the year for adomestic film with a gross of $8.64m (Y964m) over the two-day weekend (May6-7).

Produced by Fuji TV anddistributed by Toho, the film opened on 315 screens for an impressive screenaverage of $27,400 (Y3m).

The film is the second hitof the year for Fuji TV and Toho following Koki Mitani's Suite Dreams, which has grossed more than $50m to become thehighest-grossing local hit of the year so far and the second biggest filmoverall.

At its current pace, Umizaru 2 is set to top Suite Dreams and also has a chance to surpassthe year's number one film, Buena Vista's TheChronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, which hasamassed more than $55m in its 10th week.

Toho expects Umizaru 2 to gross more than $62.7m (Y7bn)by the end of its theatrical run.

The first installment,released in 2004, grossed $15.58m (Y1.74bn) and spawned a successful Fuji TVseries, which has helped to increase the core audience.

The latest entry earned fourtimes more than its predecessor on its opening day. "I attribute this leap tothe great cast and staff who have nurtured this series for a period of threeyears, on multiple media platforms," says the film's producer Chihiro Kameyama.

Based on a popular manga, Umizaru (which literally translates as Sea Monkey) follows a team ofsearch-and-rescue divers, incorporating aquatic action and romance.

The latest entry finds starHideaki Ito (When The Last Sword Is Drawn,The Yin Yang Master) trying to rescuethe passengers of a sinking ferry off the coast of Kagoshima. The series has also spurred a steep increase inapplications to the Japanese coast guard.