U.K. box office: Sandra Bullock can’t beat Harry Potter

But it’s still Bullock’s best British opening to date:

1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: £5.2 million (2nd week; drops 74%)
2. The Proposal: £3.2 million (NEW)
3. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: £2.2 million (4th week; drops 25%)
4. Bruno: £1.2 million (3rd week; drops 47%)
5. The Hangover: £.69 million

(actual numbers, not estimates)
That drop for Harry Potter isn’t quite as bad as it seems: when this three-day weekend is compared to the previous three-day weekend (that is, when Wednesday and Thursday previews are excluded from last weekend’s tally), the drop is “only” 57 percent. Which is still not great, but it’s better than the 62 percent drop the film took in North America last weekend.

Really, though, you have to love the games that get played with these box office numbers. When takings from non-weekend previews make a “weekend”’s haul look better, they get lumped in. When takings from non-weekend previews make a subsequent weekend’s drop look bad, they get taken out of the equation. The Half-Blood Prince obviously did quite well midweek between the film’s first two weekends, but those numbers don’t factor into anything (except, in the long run, the cumulative take.)

The Proposal’s debut in the U.K. was very much on par with its massive North American opening, where it was also Bullock’s biggest opening yet.

Bruno continues to hold better in the U.K. than it is in North America, though that may be due to a unique distinction for the film, as Charles Gant at the Guardian’s Film blog explains:

The Sacha Baron Cohen film was boosted by the release of a new 15-certificate version last Friday, which allowed previously excluded 15-to-17-year-olds to catch up with the comedy. The exact size of the boost, however, is impossible to gauge, since backers Universal are not offering a breakdown of figures between the 15- and 18-certificate versions. This is the first time a film has been on simultaneous UK release with two different certificates.

That does mean, however, that Bruno had already been doing even better in the U.K. than might have been expected. The ratings systems aren’t exactly compatible, and I’m not sure whether the British ratings are enforced — or not enforced, as the case may be — with the same lack of diligence as in American multiplexes, in my experience. But basically, Bruno in the U.K. was rated more like the U.S.’s NC-17 than like our R rating, which means even a smaller percentage of potential viewers would have had access to it than in North America. And it was still holding stronger.

I wonder what got cut in the 15-certificate version of Bruno

[numbers via UK Film Council]

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