‘Monty’ streaks to strong bow

Receipts from Wednesday night’s opening of Fox Searchlight’s “The Full Monty” were strong, with the Peter Cattaneo-helmed comedy taking in more than $35,000 from just six screens in New York and Los Angeles.

Fueled by positive reviews and word of mouth, the Brit comedy is poised to become one of the Fox arthouse division’s biggest hits.

With a nearly $6,000 per-screen average, “Monty” is getting a major push as it competes with a crowded late summer slate, including such behemoths as “Air Force One” and “Conspiracy Theory.” Moreover, “Full Monty” serves as the first true test of whether the 2-year-old arthouse division can compete with the likes of Miramax and October.

Despite the promising results, according to sources, Fox will hold off expanding the pic until after Labor Day, when it plans to expose the film in an aggressive, national release.

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