U.K. box office: ‘New Moon’ shines

Twilight frenzy has gripped the U.K., too:

1. The Twilight Saga: New Moon: £11.7 million (NEW)
2. 2012: £3.5 million (2nd week; drops 46%)
3. A Christmas Carol: £2.2 million (3rd week; drops 11%)
4. Harry Brown: £.72 million (2nd week; drops 43%)
5. Up: £.64 million

(actual numbers, not estimates)
Bad timing for box office numbers: the U.K. figures became publicly available this week just as I was chopping veggies Wednesday night in preparation for cooking turkey dinner on Thursday…

New Moon’s U.K. debut last weekend was almost as good as its North American one, on a comparative basis: with $142.8 million in takings in the U.S. and Canada, we might have expected a U.K. opening of around £14.3 milion, but £11.7 is close enough, and it’s scads better than last year’s December U.K. bow for Twilight, which opened to the tune of £2.51 million. It made for the second biggest opener of 2009, according to Charles Gant at the Guardian’s Film blog, close behind Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which took in £11.93 million over its first Friday through Sunday.

Thanks to New Moon, overall business was up a monstrous 163 percent over the same weekend last year, and it was the second busiest weekend of the past 52 weeks.

2012 took a smaller drop in the U.K. in its second week than it took in North America. Christmas Carol is hold much stronger, too. I wonder why…

The Coen Brothers had a nice showing with the opening of their A Serious Man, debuting down at No. 8… but it managed that while playing at only 50 cinemas (New Moon was at 497). With takings of £321,114, that’s enough for the fourth best per-screen average of the weekend, behind New Moon (£23,507), Glorious 39 (£7,654 on a single screen), 2012 (£7,314), and then Serious Man (£6,422).

What’s Glorious 39? It’s a a World War II-era mystery with an awesome cast, including Romola Garai, Bill Nighy, Julie Christie, Christopher Lee, Charlie Cox, Hugh Bonneville, Jeremy Northam, and David Tennant. Sounds like something I gotta see…

Steven Soderbergh was not such lucky with his The Informant!, which could muster, in its first weekend, only £179,612 on 116 screens.

[numbers via UK Film Council]

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