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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

U.K. box office: Bond breaks records

While we wait here in the U.S. for the new James Bond flick, it’s cutting a wide swath through the British box office:

1. Quantum of Solace: £15.4 million (NEW)
2. High School Musical 3: Senior Year: £2.7 million (2nd week; drops 67%)
3. Saw V: £.95 million (2nd week; drops 61%)
4. Ghost Town: £.79 million (2nd week; drops 42%)
5. Burn After Reading: £.55 million (3rd week; drops 62%)
I wrote earlier in the week about how phenomenal the performance of Solace is, so I won’t repeat myself.

Apart from Solace, the rest of the U.K. box office looks, once again, rather like the North American one: HSM3 and Saw V saw drops almost identical to those they saw here this past weekend, suggesting that the reaction to both films is similar on both sides of the pond: that they are of little more than momentary interest. Ghost Town, on the other hand, seems to be doing better in the U.K. than it did in the U.S. — perhaps local boy Ricky Gervais’s involvement has something to do with that.

I’m still keeping an eye on the per-screen averages, which continue the trend I’ve been noting: that wide, mainstream releases do better in this respect than arthouse releases, which is the opposite of how things usually play out in North America. This week’s numbers:

1. Quantum of Solace: £28,489 at each of 540 cinemas
2. HSM3: £5,786 (474 cinemas)
3. Golmaal Returns: £4,591 (42 cinemas)
4. Saw V: £2,598 (367 cinemas)
5. Of Time and the City: £2,288 (25 cinemas)
6. Ghost Town: £2,280 (345 cinemas)

Bond may have thrown this curve, though. And two arthouse releases with more local appeal in the U.K. do show up here: Golmaal is a Bollywood comedy — there are more Indian immigrants in the U.K. than there are here, if not in real numbers than certainly proportionally — and Of Time is a documentary about the city of Liverpool. So it’s probably not surprising that they performed as well as they did. What is surprising is that there aren’t more British-themed films in the overall mix. That’s something I’ll be keeping an eye out for, too.

[numbers via UK Film Council]

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