U.K. box office: ‘Paranormal Activity’ jumps to No. 1

And new openers tank:

1. Paranormal Activity: £1.8 million (2nd week; drops 49%)
2. A Christmas Carol: £1.7 million
3. The Twilight Saga: New Moon: £1.6 million (3rd week; drops 62%)
4. Planet 51: £1.5 million (NEW)
5. Law Abiding Citizen: £.99 million (2nd week; drops 33%)

(actual numbers, not estimates)
The best a new opener could manage this week was No. 4? Yikes. Next was The Box, at No. 8, which scraped up a paltry £474,938 — awful even compared to the not-great North American opening of $7.5 million (we might have expected a U.K. opening of £750,000). Also new: The Descent: Part 2 — the sequel to The Descent that will open in North America sometime in 2010 — at No. 9, earning £313,739.

Instead of audiences embracing new movies, they put Paranormal Activity in the top spot. Not that it didn’t drop almost 50 percent over last weekend — which isn’t great, though everyone these days pretends it’s fine — but because New Moon took another enormous drop. I thought vampires were supposed to be immortal…

2012 dropped out the top 5, though it saw its cumulative take pass £17 million this weekend. That’s actually better, on a comparative basis, than how it’s doing in North America, where, as of last weekend, it hadn’t yet reached $150 million (that’d translate to about £15 million).

Overall business was down five percent over the same weekend last year, and with nothing major opening this coming Friday, it looks like the British box office will have to wait till the week after, when Avatar opens, for a boost.

[numbers via UK Film Council]

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