U.K. box office: ‘Knowing’ knows how to win

The end of the world is always good for box-office business:

1. Knowing: £2.5 million (NEW)
2. Marley & Me: £1.7 million (3rd week; drops 2%)
3. The Haunting in Connecticut: £1.1 million (NEW)
4. Paul Blart: Mall Cop: £1 million (2nd week; drops 21%)
5. The Damned United: £.6 million (NEW)

(actual numbers, not estimates)
The British box office continues to look much like the North American, though the juggernaut that the multiplexes had seen earlier in the year is slowing down more in the U.K. — overall business was up just 4 percent over the same time last year (it was up much more in the U.S. last weekend).

As seems to be usual thing, it’s the mainstream wide releases with the best per-screen averages: Knowing was in the top spot, with £6,321 at each of 391 cinemas, then Haunting (£3,614 at each of 312 cinemas), with Marley close behind in third place (£3,471 at each of 484 cinemas). It typically takes a megablockbuster in North America for a wide release to do better, on a per-screen basis, than limted releases. Does that mean that arthouse-loving cinema fans are more concentrated in North America — in New York and Los Angeles and a few of the other largest cities — and they flock to offbeat movies en masse as soon as they can (and leave the wide releases till later, may on DVD, or avoid them altogether)? Does that mean that there aren’t as many arthouse fans in Britain?

It’s just so weird that there’s such a disparity…

[numbers via UK Film Council]

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