Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, a 3D fantasy that reinvents the fairy-tale characters as adult bounty hunters, tops this week’s UK box office chart.

Yet it only does so thanks to takings from two days of previews, giving it the advantage over last week’s top film, Disney animation Wreck-It Ralph.

Based on Friday to Sunday takings only, Ralph was the weekend’s top draw.

Jessica Chastain’s horror outing Mama held steady in third place after its second weekend in UK and Irish cinemas.

Hansel and Gretel’s first weekend takings of £1,502,782 include the £404,599 it took from 388 previews held last Wednesday and Thursday.

Wreck-It Ralph, named after a computer game villain who dreams of being a hero, took £1,402,000 from the 529 screens that showed it between Friday and Sunday.

Fourth place was claimed by A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth instalment in Bruce Willis’s 25-year-old action franchise.

That film also claimed the top spot in its first weekend in UK cinemas – again at the expense of Wreck-It Ralph – thanks to takings from preview screenings.

Safe Haven, the latest romantic drama to be drawn from the works of best-selling author Nicholas Sparks, rounds out this week’s top five.

The film, about a young woman on the run who finds love in a picturesque North Carolina town, took £812,460 in its opening weekend, a small amount of which came from 19 pre-release previews.

Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton play the sibling heroes in Hansel and Gretel, despite their ages being separated by 15 years in real life.

The film is one of a number of recent and current releases to take its inspiration from a classic fairy tale – something it shares with another 3D title, Jack the Giant Slayer.

Due in UK cinemas later this month, Bryan Singer’s fantasy topped the US box office chart this weekend but was considered by industry analysts to have underperformed.

Ewan McGregor and Nicholas Hoult star in the retelling of the Jack and the Beanstalk story, understood to have cost $189m (£125.5m) to make.