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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

British box office: ‘How to Lose Friends…’ wins friends

My experiment with exploring global box office numbers continues. I think I’ll eventually start looking at numbers beyond North America and the U.K., but I’m trying to get a hold on what the U.K. numbers mean first.

British box office numbers are not as readily available as North American ones, but it seems that the previous weekend’s figures are available by midweek. So here’s how this past weekend shaped up:

1. How to Lose Friends & Alienate People: $2 million (NEW)
2. Taken: $1.9 million (2nd week)
3. Tropic Thunder: $1.7 million (3rd week)
4. Mamma Mia!: $1.3 million
5. Death Race: $.8 million (2nd week)
Well, it’s nice to see that as badly as How to Lose Friends… tanked in the U.S., it’s more than making up for it in the U.K.: it actually earned more over its opening weekend there than it did in the U.S. (the movie opened on the same weekend on both sides of the pond), with only a tiny sliver of the potential audiences. Could be the lack of promotion in the U.S. helped sink it: I don’t think I saw a single TV ad for the flick here. This is one I missed attending a press screening of while I was away in England, but now, seeing how well it did over there, it’s getting bumped up my list of movies to catch up with.

I’m also looking forward more now to Taken than I was before: something about that flick is clicking with British audiences, and I want to know what it is.

And look at Mamma Mia! It’s been playing for three months in the U.K., and it actually jumped 22 percent this past weekend over the previous weekend. Is it too groan-worthy to say that this movie is officially doing ABBAsolutely fabulously well? Yes, it is: I apologize.

[numbers via The Hollywood Reporter]



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  • Paul Hayes

    No prizes for guessing what the No. 1 selling DVD at Christmas time here in the UK will be, then.

  • Could be the lack of promotion in the U.S. helped sink it: I don’t think I saw a single TV ad for the flick here.
    –MaryAnn Johanson

    I did.

    And the review in the local papers–including the alternative weekly–did not seem to suggest that I was missing anything by not seeing it.

    And don’t get me started on that horribly unfunny trailer.

  • MaryAnn

    Yeah, the trailer is terrible. Presumably, the same trailer was seen by British audiences, though, too, but that didn’t stop them from going out to see it.

  • blake

    The best selling Christmas DVD is gonna be the Dark Knight, however, Mamma Mia is huge over here, there are sing along versions and everything.The stage show was a massive hit as well.

  • Presumably, the same trailer was seen by British audiences, though, too, but that didn’t stop them from going out to see it.
    –MaryAnn Johanson

    So much for the cultural superiority of Great Britain. ;-)

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