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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

U.K. box office: ‘Watchmen’ can’t win for winning here, either

It’s all capes and vigilantism on the other side of the Atlantic, too:

1. Watchmen: £3.2 million (NEW)
2. Slumdog Millionaire: £1.3 million
3. Gran Torino: £1.2 million (3rd week; down 10%)
4. The Young Victoria: £1 million (NEW)
5. Bolt: £.98 million (4th week; drops 25%)

(actual numbers, not estimates)
Overall business in the U.K. was up a whopping 46 percent over the same time last year, but even so, Watchmen’s opening is being seen as a disappointment. The film appears to be performing in the U.K. in a way comparable to North America: it had the biggest opening weekend of the year so far, but didn’t do as well as Zack Snyder’s last film, 300, did over its first weekend, according to Charles Gant at the Guardian’s Film blog. (I still don’t have the same kind of access to historical data that Gant does.)

Slumdog Millionaire passed a cumulative £28 million this weekend, and could well pass £30 million by the time next weekend is done, which puts it even deeper into blockbuster territory than the film is in North America: though it’s been playing only half as long — 9 weeks in the U.K. versus 17 in the U.S. — it’s done more than twice as well, on a relative basis: the movie would have to have made around $300 million in North America, when it’s only just passed $125 million (which is still extraordinary for a film with no stars and half subtitled).

Gant also notes that with the continued strong performance of Gran Torino, it looks as if that film will easily become Clint Eastwood’s most successful movie yet in the U.K., just as it has become in North America.

There’s no North American opening date set for The Young Victoria, a historical piece about the early years of Queen Victoria (played by Emily Blunt), but with the very nice performance it turned in over its first weekend, I bet we see a release sooner rather than later. (I’d say perhaps not till this year’s awards season come fall, but the reviews seem only tepidly positive.) I’ll look around for a trailer so those of us on the other end of the usual way of things — we’re waiting in North America for a film that’s already opened in the U.K. when it’s usually the other way around — so we can get a peek at it.

[numbers via UK Film Council]



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