The final figures for 2008 are finally available, so here’s a quick look of the top movies of 2008, from a box-office perspective, in the U.K.:
1. Mamma Mia!: £69.17 million
2. Quantum of Solace: £51.02 million
3. The Dark Knight: £48.69 million
4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: £40.27 million
5. Sex and the City: The Movie: £26.43 million
6. Hancock: £24.74 million
7. Wall-E: £22.91 million
8. High School Musical 3: Senior Year: £22.75 million
9. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa: £21.86 million
10. Kung Fu Panda: £20.20 million
This looks like a list of blockbusters: action, science fiction, animated kiddie movies with crossover appeal for grownups. It doesn’t look exactly like the North American top 10 for 2008, though. Mamma Mia! was No. 12 in North America — it would have had to do Dark Knight-level business to match its popularity in the U.K. Ditto Quantum of Solace — No. 9 in North America — which was phenomenally more popular on James Bond’s home ground, perhaps unsurprisingly.
The next biggest disparity is High School Musical 3, which was No. 32 for the year in North America: it did twice as well in the U.K. Sex and the City, strangely not on its home ground, also did much better in the U.K. than it did in the U.S. (where it was No. 11 for the year), doing about two-thirds again the business.
I’m speaking in relative terms with the box office takings, of course. The rule of thumb for comparison is this: If a movie makes $100 million in North America, we should expect it to make £10 million in the U.K. Flip it around, and if a movie made £69 million in the U.K., we might expect it to have made $690 million in North America.
Movies in the North American top 10 that don’t appear here:
• Iron Man: No. 2 in North America; No. 11 in the U.K. (doing about half the business, in relative terms, in the U.K. as it did in the U.S.)
• Twilight: No. 8 in North America; No. 18 in the U.K. (business about two-thirds, in relative terms, what it was in North America)
• Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!: No. 10 in North America; not in top 20 in the U.K.
The complete 2008 box office report is available from the UK Film Council. [Warning: link is a PDF.]