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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

U.K. box office: Bond keeps slaying the competition

They love 007 on his home turf:

1. Quantum of Solace: £5.2 million (3rd week; drops 44%)
2. Max Payne: £1 million (NEW)
3. High School Musical 3: Senior Year: £.98 million (4th week; drops 36%)
4. Zack and Miri Make a Porno: £.8 million (NEW)
5. Ghost Town: £.6 million (4th week; drops 17%)
Lots of milestones for the British box office this weekend. For one, Quantum of Solace passed £40 million in the U.K., which is astonishing — I don’t think we’re going to see quite the same level of continued support for the film in the U.S. as it has been enjoying in the U.K. Proportionally speaking, the movie would have to clear about $300 million by its third week here to be comparable. In other words, in the three weeks since Solace opened in the U.K., it’s as if ever person in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland has given a dollar to the film. There are about 334 million people in the U.S. and Canada. The math is pretty simple.

Of course, Bond has a bit of a home-field advantage in England…

For another milestone, Charles Gant at the Guardian’s Film Blog notes that HSM3 is now the second biggest musical ever at the British box office, behind this year’s Mamma Mia! This is apparently much stronger a performance that could have been expected. Says Gant:

Disney’s London office will be basking in approbation from its corporate parent since HSM3’s US gross of $84m (£55.8m) suggested a UK gross closer to £8.5m, but Britain has far exceeded expectations.

Mamma Mia! and HSM3 are now at No. 3 and No. 7, respectively, in the all-time ranking of musicals at the North American box office. Which is not bad, either. If you want a hint from the world of pop culture that a new Great Depression is upon us, the resurgent success of fluffy all-singing, all-dancing movies could be it.

For a third milestone, Zack and Miri had Kevin Smith’s biggest British opening yet. (That’s also via Gant. I can’t find historical numbers for the British box office — I don’t know where he’s getting them from. But I keep looking.)

Per-screen averages continue to tell a different story than they do in the U.S., with mainstream films dominating, although slightly less than in recent weeks:

1. Quantum of Solace: £9,407 at each of 549 cinemas
2. Dostana: £7,946 (43 cinemas)
3. Vaaranam Aayiram: £4,954 (9 cinemas)
4. Max Payne: £2,694 (373 cinemas)
5. Zack and Miri: £2,348 (340 cinemas)

(I excluded a revival showing of A Streetcar Named Desire, which earned £5,890 at one cinema.)

Most notable number of the week? The American documentary I.O.U.S.A. earned a grand total of £203 at four cinemas. Ouch. I’d say that no one in the U.K. cares to hear about the U.S.’s financial problems, but I think it’s more a matter of the U.K. being in the same sinking financial boat that we’re in — or even a slightly worse one — and not wanting to wallow in shared misery.

[numbers via UK Film Council]

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