The film reportedly cost up to $400m (£248.2m) to make and market
James Cameron's sci-fi epic Avatar has topped the UK and Ireland box office in its first weekend of release.The film, set in the 22nd Century on a distant planet, took £8.5m, blowing away nearest rival St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold with £1.6m.
It is the third biggest opening of 2009 in the UK behind Twilight: New Moon at £11.7m and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at £19.8m.
Avatar reportedly cost up to $400m (£248.2m) to make and market.
Last week's number one film, Disney's adaptation of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, fell to three after seven weeks on the chart.
UK & IRELAND BOX OFFICE
1. Avatar - £8.5m
2. St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold - £1.6m
3. Disney's A Christmas Carol - £1m
4. Nativity! - £578,510
5. Planet 51 - £451,420
Source: Screen International
Family animation Planet 51 - the story of an alien race living the life of 1950s America - fell to five while Where the Wild Things Are slipped four places to six.
Meanwhile musical film Nine, featuring an all-star cast including Dame Judi Dench, Daniel Day Lewis and Nicole Kidman, made an appearance at number 13 after showing at just one venue in the UK, taking £44,443 in ticket sales.
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