'The Inbetweeners' Knocks 'Apes' Off its U.K. Perch

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TV show-turned-movie laughs up $21 million from opening.

LONDON – The big screen version of British cult comedy hit The Inbetweeners laughed its way into record books after posting north of £13 million ($21 million) from 453 sites.

Released by Entertainment Film Distributors, the Film4 backed project opened on £13.2 million ($21.7 million) including previews, according to Rentrak and a trumpeting U.K. media.

The early success -- the movie took £2.5 million ($4.1 million) on its first day sparking a debate on BBC Radio 5 about the merits of transitioning hit TV shows to the big screen --  pushed it into the record books.

The bawdy comedy about four hapless teenage school boys who go on holiday together certainly out-performed some stellar competition from earlier this year.

The movie’s opening is the second-biggest U.K. after the wizardry of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows  - Part 2 which took £23.7 million ($39 million).

It also means it opened bigger than a slew of big 2011 box office plays including Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (£11.6 million) and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (£10.7 million).

The Inbetweeners hit the No. 1 spot in the U.K. & Ireland ahead of Rise of The Planet of the Apes (£2.4 million, $4.1 million) over three days from 494 sites.

And the TV-to-film adaptation, from its opening figures alone, has already beaten the box office performances of two other high profile big screen versions of British television shows, Ali G Indahouse and Kevin & Perry Go Large, over their entire runs in theaters.

Based on the hit Channel 4/E4 TV comedy, the movie includes most of the main cast and crew from the show, with director Ben Palmer, writers Damon Beesley and Ian Morris, producer Christopher Young and the cast of Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison and Joe Thomas all on board.

The movie’s budget was a reported £3.5 million ($5.7 million).