U.K. box office: ‘Bolt’ electrifies British moviegoers

Big big numbers in the U.K. this past weekend, just like in the U.S.:

1. Bolt: £5.5 million (NEW)
2. Slumdog Millionaire: £1.82 million
3. He’s Just Not That Into You: £1.78 million (2nd week; drops 7%)
4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: £1.77 million (2nd week; drops 20%)
5. Hotel for Dogs: £1.5 million (NEW)

(actual numbers, not estimates)
Bolt’s debut looks a little better than it actually is: that £5.5 million figure includes takings from public previews prior to the official opening weekend, according to Charles Gant at the Guardian’s Film blog. But the kiddies on a holiday from school this week, so any taint to the numbers will probably be forgotten when the movie continues to play strong all week. Vacation high spirits probably explain the relative strength of the debut of Hotel for Dogs, too.

Slumdog Millionaire had a good showing at the BAFTAs the prior weekend, which is likely why it saw its business jump 15 percent in its sixth week of release. It’s edging up on a cumulative take of £20 million, which is certifiable blockbuster territory for the U.K. (That would put it just outside the top 10 of 2008’s biggest hits in the U.K., for example, and it’s not done yet.)

Overall business was up 56 percent over the same weekend last year, with seven movies taking in more than £1 million this past weekend, which is a record. (Again, this is according to Gant; I wish I had access to his historical figures.) No. 6 was Friday the 13th with £1.2 million, and No. 7 was Notorious, with £1.1 million. It’s interesting to me that Friday the 13th didn’t do anywhere near as well, relatively speaking, as it did in North America. (The movie opened on the same day on both sides of the Atlantic, because you don’t let a release date like an actual Friday the 13th go to waste, of course.) There may have simply been too many other new movies to choose from, which was not the case in the U.S.

[numbers via UK Film Council]

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