Government initiatives introduced early last year, which were expected to result in large increases in admissions in Serbia and Montenegro, appear to have paid off with the week ending November 10 giving the territory its highest grossing week in history.

Boasting a massive 254,587 admissions ($490,300), an increase of more than 150% compared to the same period last year, the week was a triumph led by local hit Zamfir's Zona.

This year's total box office, now 2,708,776 admissions, surpassed last year's end of year total (1,931,282 admissions) in the last week of October following the release of three local productions within a month.

Last year's average ticket price was about $1: this year it is $1.7. So it is safe to expect that the annual box office will see an increase of about 100% compared to 2001. This has mostly been fuelled by the success of Zamfir's Zona, which scored a record four-day opening of $169,372 from 80,594 admissions after being released on Oct 31, and will continue with Hollywood titles Signs, Road To Perdition, Die Another Day, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets which are all lined up for the release in November and December.

Zamfir's Zona was released by Mirius and accounts for 61% or 156,108 admissions ($313,000) of this most successful box office week in history. Another four currently running local productions took 21% ($107,616), while Minority Report opened at fourth with 8.5% ($42,000). By Nov 15, Zona had sold 414,000 tickets, making $848,360 in 17 days on 15 prints. This means that Zona sold an average of 23,000 tickets per day, scooping up an amazing average of $47,131.

The film, which is adapted from a classic Serbian novel, is well on its way to breaking the all time record of last year's local hit Thunderbirds, which sold 571,164 admissions.

The government introduced initiatives to help curb piracy, end trade restrictions and reform the economy at the beginning of 2001. Admissions in Serbia/Montenegro rose from 3.18m in 2000 to 5m in 2001 and are expected to reach 6.75m for this year. Predictions for 2003 suggest the trend will continue to 8.5 million admissions