Finnish start big for ‘Star’

'Independence' holds record, despite 'Menace'

HELSINKI — Opening with a record 55 prints Friday, George Lucas’ “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” dominated the Finnish box office, reeling in a gross of 3,024,878 markka ($544,689) and tallied an impressive 73,900 admissions for a per-screen average of $9,903.

Approximately 25,000 of “Menace’s” admissions were collected in the Helsinki metropolitan area.

The Will Smith sci-fi hit “Independence Day” still holds the three-day opening record in Finland, with admissions tallying as high as 89,200. Its per-screen average of $13,253 was also better than that of “Menace.”

The preem of Lucas’ prequel was the summer’s big closure event in Finland, with schools getting back in session just after the weekend.

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