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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

U.K. box office: ‘The Final Destination’ looking less final than ever

It opened even better on the right side of the Atlantic than it did on the left side:

1. The Final Destination: £3.6 million (NEW)
2. Inglourious Basterds: £1.3 million (2nd week; drops 65%)
3. Funny People: £1 million (NEW)
4. The Time Traveler’s Wife: £.69 million (3rd week; drops 25%)
5. Aliens in the Attic: £.68 million (3rd week; up 6%)

(actual numbers, not estimates)
Based on the North American opening of $27.4 million for FD4, which was already ridiculously high, we should have seen a U.K. opening of around £2.7 million — another million beyond that is extra ridiculous. Expect more Final Destination flicks, and soon. I bet we get another by this time next year (it’s been three years since the last one). It’ll get rushed into production and be even worse than this one, and no one will care, because it’ll make a mint.

That 65 percent drop for Basterds is way worse than in the U.S. and Canada. At least it’s not as bad as I Love You, Beth Cooper’s second week: it doesn’t even register on the UK Film Council’s weekend rankings, but Charles Gant at the Guardian’s Film blog — who clearly has access to more detailed info than I do — tells us that dropped 83 percent in its second week. Aliens in the Attic, on the other hand, was actually up 6 percent? What’s that all about?

Gant also notes that it’s apparently a bank holiday weekend tradition for Britain to get a new Pedro Almodovar movie. And this bank holiday weekend, it was Broken Embraces, which came in at No. 10, even though it was on only 90 screens — as opposed to the 400-screen range for the top 5 — for the second best per-screen average of the weekend, £3,289, after FD4’s £8,509 (at 427 cinemas).

The Hurt Locker — which I’m gonna try to get around to reviewing next week — finally opened in the U.K. rather respectably at No. 8 with takings of £308,887, or a per-screen of £2,206 on 140 screens, for the fifth-place per-screen ranking for the weekend. That’s very much on a par with the North American opening ($36,338 on each of 4 screens).

Better than America: the performance of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It finally dropped out of the British top 5 this weekend, but it has earned almost £49.5 million, which would be comparable to a North American take of $500 million — it’s actually only about $294 million.

Overall, business was up 5 percent over the same weekend last year, bucking the recent trend down. But these figures don’t include the takings from this Monday, August 31, the bank holiday, which is comparable in some ways to Labor Day in the U.S. All the top movies would look better is the holiday was counting, and the weekend may even look worse without them, assuming that some people held off on going to the movies on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday because they knew they’d be able to go on Monday.

[numbers via UK Film Council]



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