Icon Film Distribution's What Women Want clocked up $4,956,132 (£3,375,126) over the weekend, giving star Mel Gibson his biggest ever opening in the UK, beating all four of his Lethal Weapon action films and BVI's 1997 thriller Ransom (see chart below).
The romantic comedy had the biggest opening gross of the weekend and the highest site average - $12,268 - for the year so far, above strong performers such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Cast Away and Traffic. It also managed to dethrone Tom Hanks vehicle Cast Away from the top spot.
Metrodome's Shadow Of The Vampire was the only other opener to make the chart this week. The film slipped into the number 15 spot taking $64,708 (£44,066) from just 16 sites for a healthy average of $4,044. Pathe's The Claim failed to make the chart, taking $46,458 (£31,638) from just eight sites, but is expected to make an entrance next weekend when it opens wide.
Cast Away, distributed by UIP, dropped to second position after three weeks at number one. Still taking a strong three-day gross of $1,650,319 (£1,123,867) from 392 sites, the film's total gross to date stands at $16,667,347.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon continued to show its teeth over its fifth weekend on release, dropping just 12% from the previous weekend. Columbia TriStar's film, now showing on 130 sites, retained fifth position with takings of $765,734 (£521,465). The top five was rounded-out by Entertainment's Traffic in third position and Columbia's Vertical Limit at four.
Mel Gibson Top Ten Openers in the UK*
1. What Women Want (Feb 2, 2001) $4.96m (£3.38m)
2. Ransom (Jan 31, 1997) $4.82m (£3.28m)**
3. Lethal Weapon 3 (Aug 14, 1992) $3.72m (£2.53m)
4. Lethal Weapon 4 (Sep 18, 1998) $3.01m (£2.05m)
5. Lethal Weapon 2 (Sep 15, 1989) $1.95m (£1.33m)
6. Braveheart (Sep 8, 1995) $1.94m (£1.32m)
7. Payback (Mar 26, 1999) $1.73m (£1.18m)
8. Conspiracy Theory (Aug 29, 1997) $1.72m (£1.17m)
9. Forever Young (Mar 26, 1993) $1.6m (£1.09m)
10. The Patriot (July 14, 2000) $1.51m (£1.03m)
*Does not include Chicken Run in which he voiced a character
**Second weekend gross following a one-week platform opening