U.K. box office: it’s about all ‘Harry Potter,’ of course

A quick look at last weekend in the U.K. as we head into the new one:

1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: £19.8 million (NEW)
2. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: £2.8 million (3rd week; drops 40%)
3. Bruno: £2.3 million (2nd week; drops 54%)
4. The Hangover: £.89 million
5. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: £.68 million

(actual numbers, not estimates)
Wow, that Harry Potter number is even better than the North American one: with the same five-day opening, the film took in $158 million here, which should have translated into a U.K. opening of about £15.8 million. It’s the biggest U.K. opening of 2009 so far… and it also puts this weekend up a phenomenal 83 percent over the same weekend last year, another marked departure from the North American box office, which was way down over last year, even given Harry Potter’s big debut.

I’m not sure what that means: perhaps the Britishness of Harry Potter hasn’t gotten so plowed under by Hollywood that British audiences don’t still feel like it’s homegrown.

An maybe that accounts for Bruno and British star Sacha Baron Cohen not having quite as embarrassing a fall in the U.K. in its second week as it did in North America: a drop of 54 percent isn’t exactly healthy, but it’s a lot better than the 73 percent drop it took in the U.S. and Canada.

[numbers via UK Film Council]

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