U.K. box office: no joy for Klaatu in the U.K., either

As in the U.S., the U.K. debut of The Day the Earth Stood Still looks good at first glance, but it pales next to, say, last week’s bow of Madagascar 2… or even this second weekend of that animated flick, even after it took a big drop:

1. The Day the Earth Stood Still: £2.8 million (NEW)
2. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa: £2.5 million (2nd week; drops 61%)
3. Four Christmases: £1.1 million (3rd week; drops 25%)
4. Inkheart: £.7 million (NEW)
5. Rab Ne Bana De Jodi: £.4 million (NEW)

(actual numbers, not estimates)
Charles Gant at the Guardian’s Film Blog, my favorite British box-office watcher (the only one other than me I’ve found, actually), suggests that Day’s £2.8 million figure is in fact much worse, because it includes public previews on Wednesday and Thursday, and if you remove those, Madagascar 2 beats it for the weekend alone. Also: Day was not screened for critics in the U.K. D’oh!

But there’s bigger box-office news this weekend. Mamma Mia! has now officially passed Titanic as the money-makingest movie ever in the U.K.: it has earned £69,066,035 million, squeaking past Titanic’s £69,025,646 (and of course Mamma isn’t done yet).

The other story is that this weekend in the U.K. is the first one I’ve seen since I started watching during which limited releases enjoyed the best per-screen averages. The Bollywood flick Rab Ne Bana De Jodi (which I’m going to talk more about tomorrow) took in £6,731 at each of 60 cinemas, with the Turkish film A.R.O.G. in second place, with £6,534 at each of three cinemas. (You don’t need to understand Turkish to understand the potential appeal of this flick as demonstrated by these four teaser trailers.) Day was third, with £5,919 at each of 465 cinemas, with Madagascar 2 next: £4,747 at 522 cinemas.

Oh yeah: The Dark Knight is gonna crack a billion bucks worldwide this week…

[numbers via UK Film Council]

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