U.K. box office: ‘New Moon’ drops big

And Paranormal Activity opens big:

1. The Twilight Saga: New Moon: £4.3 million (2nd week; drops 63%)
2. Paranormal Activity: £3.6 million (NEW)
3. A Christmas Carol: £1.9 million (4th week; drops 13%)
4. 2012: £1.8 million (3rd week; drops 48%)
5. Law Abiding Citizen: £1.5 million (NEW)

(actual numbers, not estimates)
A 63 percent drop for New Moon is not great — it indicates, as similar big drops in North America do — that the film’s appeal is not widespread (though we already knew that). Not that there’s clearly anything wrong with appealing to a rabid if narrow fanbase: the movie has now grossed more than £20 million in the U.K., which is very good indeed.

But the per-screen average for Paranormal Activity — with no stars and no ready-made audience, except perhaps those who were following the frenzy over the film during its North American release — was even better than New Moon’s: £9,121 (at each of 394 cinemas) versus £8,538 (at each of 504 cinemas) for the Twilight movie. By any measure, New Moon — which cost $50 million to make, and will easily hit $500 million worldwide before it’s done — is an immensely profitable movie. But Paranormal Activity will be looked to far more intensely as a scenario to imitate, if at all possible: with production costs of $15,000 — yes, thousand — and worldwide grosses (so far) of more than $107 million, this is the paradigm to watch for Great Recession filmmaking. (We’ll see how well the film holds up in its second week in the U.K….)

Up finally dropped out of the top 5 — it’s down at No. 8 after this past weekend — but not before raking in a little under £34 million after 8 weeks, or the comparative equivalent of $340 million in North America… which is more than it grossed in its entire run in the U.S. and Canada (just over $293 million). They like them some Disney-Pixar in England.

Overall, box office takings were up 121 percent over the same weekend last year. We don’t often see the top 5 all grossing over £1 million, so that’ll have something to do with it.

[numbers via UK Film Council]

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