U.K. box office: ‘Wolverine’ geekifies Britain, too

Everyone loves a kick-ass mutant:

1. X-Men Origins: Wolverine: £6.7 million (NEW)
2. Hannah Montana: The Movie: £2 million (NEW)
3. State of Play: £.982 million (2nd week; drops 35%)
4. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past: £.977 million (NEW)
5. 17 Again: £.53 (4th week; drops 48%)

(actual numbers, not estimates)
It’s the biggest opening of the year in the U.K., by far, for Wolverine, though as Charles Gant notes at the Guardian Film blog, this was a bank holiday weekend. I’d say it was the equivalent of Memorial Day in the U.S., except the Brits get another bank holiday this month on the 25th that is more the counterpart of Memorial Day. (I do wonder why Americans don’t revolt at our shocking lack of public holidays compared to Europe and Japan — I can only imagine that most Americans have no idea we’re getting shafted.) Gant:

The official opening weekend figure is £6.66m, including Wednesday and Thursday previews of £1.87m. Add in the bank holiday Monday takings of £1.9m, and the prequel has grossed £8.56m in six days – far and away the biggest release of 2009 so far.

And this also highlights my deep frustration with trying to cover the U.K. box office: there simply isn’t the same level of information publicly available as there is for North America. Wherever Gant is getting his numbers, I simply don’t have access to that source. There’s no equivalent to Box Office Mojo — with its deep well of historical info as well as its complete current numbers — for the U.K. that I know of.

I can tell you that unlike in North America this past weekend, the British box office was up 29 percent over the same weekend last year. And it’s all Wolverine, with its whopping per-screen average of £13,645 (Hannah Montana’s was a distant second, at £4,893, and the rest of the top five, per-screen wise, were only in the £2,000s). Wolverine “was number 1 in every market in which it debuted” around the planet (via TheWrap).

State of Play held on better in the U.K. than it did in the U.S., dropping only 35 percent in its second week (versus more than 50 in the U.S.). But it looks like Observe and Report is going to disappear quickly from the British moviescape: it plunged 77 percent in its second week. It probably won’t crack £600,000 in total takings by the time its done… which will be very soon indeed.

[numbers via UK Film Council]

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