U.K. box office: ‘Up’ opens in the stratosphere

I really wish the U.K. box office numbers were available earlier in the week…:

1. Up: £6.4 million (NEW)
2. Zombieland: £1.2 million (NEW)
3. The Invention of Lying: £1.1 million (2nd week; drops 38%)
4. Fame: £.91 million (3rd week; drops 49%)
5. Love Happens: £.56 million (NEW)

(actual numbers, not estimates)
Unsurprisingly, the fantastically well-reviewed Up had a similarly huge opening the U.K. as it did in North America, where it opened in May with $68 million — a £6.4 million opening is just about what we’d expect for Britain. It remains to be seen, however, whether the fact that all the kiddies are back at school now will put a damper on the film’s performance from here on; U.K. schools were closed this week for a half-term holiday, but that’s nothing to the months-long school vacation that the movie had to play with in North America.

On the other hand, Zombieland’s U.K. opening, while respectable, fell far short of the unexpectedly big opening it enjoyed in the U.K. Charles Gant at the Guardian’s Film blog notes that the movie was originally scheduled to open in Britain in November but was moved up at the last minute, which prevented much of the press there from covering it prior to release. It’ll be interesting to see if strong word-of-mouth and the near-univeral acclaim the film has gotten from U.K. critics will translate into a small second-weekend drop.

Overall, the U.K. box office was up a whooping 94 percent over the same weekend last year. The credit for that likely goes almost entirely to Up, which had the sixth biggest opening weekend in the U.K. for 2009 (which is where it is in the current North American rankings, too):

1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: £19,784,924
2. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: £8,349,739
3. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: £7,639,884
4. Terminator Salvation: £6,936,528
5. X-Men Origins: Wolverine: £6,658,979
6. Up: £6,411,836
7. Angels & Demons: £6,054,627
8. Star Trek £5,950,203
9. Bolt: £5,457,438
10. Bruno: £5,000,229

[numbers via UK Film Council]

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