U.K. box office: ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ lives up to its name

I remain in awe of Slumdog Millionaire:

1. Slumdog Millionaire: £2.6 million (2nd week; up 44%)
2. Seven Pounds: £1.6 million (NEW)
3. Role Models: £1.4 million (2nd week; drops 39%)
4. My Bloody Valentine 3-D: £1.34 million (NEW)
5. Bride Wars: £1.32 million (2nd week; drops 23%)

(actual numbers, not estimates)
Up 44 percent over last weekend! Even for a film riding the crest of awards buzz, that’s amazing. Charles Gant at the Guardian Film blog says it’s the U.K.’s biggest sleeper hit ever. (And now it’s got Oscar noms, too. Will next weekend in the U.K. see it jump again?)

But just as with the North American box office this past weekend, business was way up over last year, and the spread of films making decent coin was wide, too. People are going to the movies more than they were last year. That’s interesting.

Oo, and I learned a rule of thumb about the business end of the British film industry from Charles Gant this week: Whatever opening-weekend haul a film gets in North American, move the decimal one place to the left, change the dollar sign to a pound sign, and that’s what can be expected for its opening weekend in the U.K. So, as Gant notes:

Beverly Hills Chihuahua’s debut of £1.03m from 422 sites, for a sixth-place finish, is a disappointment for backers Disney. The family comedy – about a pampered pooch’s misadventures in Mexico – opened with $29m (£20.7m) in the US last October, suggesting a UK launch around the £2.9m mark, according to industry rule of thumb.

It seems like maybe that rule would get thrown off as currencies fluctuate — which they seem to be doing a lot more than usual these days. Or maybe not: it’s all relative anyway. Maybe fluctuating currencies impact, as a side effect, moviegoing habits in such a way that that impacts attendence, too.

Still: good to know.

[numbers via UK Film Council]

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