Malaysian authorities seized illegal copies of the latest Star Wars movie just a day after it was released in American cinemas, finding them among half a million pirated DVDs. And in Beijing, counterfeiters were selling illegal DVD copies of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, for the equivalent of $3.50.

The copies were slightly blurry but appeared not to have been filmed in a cinema, as are many of China's imported fakes. But the copies would be tricky for English-speakers because their subtitles were from the 2003 action movie Detention, although the subtitles in Chinese were accurate.

In the United States, the movie scored the second-best three-day weekend of all time, although the Force wasn't strong enough to prevent overall ticket sales declining for the 13th consecutive weekend.

Revenge of the Sith sold US$108.5 million ($154 million) in tickets for Friday to Sunday, taking its total to $US158.5 million ($223.7 million) since it opened. Its four-day haul surpasses the US$134.3 million ($190 million) tally of 2003's The Matrix Reloaded.

The record is held by Spider-Man, which opened to almost US$115 million ($162 million) in 2002.

- REUTERS