U.K. box office: ‘Titans’ drops big but clings to the top

And it’s deja vu for the rest of the top five:

1. Clash of the Titans: £2.4 million (2nd week; drops 57%)
2. How to Train Your Dragon: £1.4 million (2nd week; drops 71%)
3. Kick-Ass: £1.19 million (2nd week; drops 69%)
4. Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang: £1.18 million (3rd week; drops 55%)
5. Alice in Wonderland: £.68 million

(actual numbers, not estimates)
The top five is exactly the same as it was last week, perhaps because of the lack of any major new competition. The only new wide release last weekend was Drew Barrymore’s wonderful directorial debut, Whip It, which appears to be suffering the same fate as it did in North America last fall: It opened down at No. 8, earning a smallish £353,041, and that’s including preview screenings on Wednesday and Thursday last week. That’s even less, comparatively speaking, than the $4.7 million it took in over its first weekend in the U.S. and Canada back in October. We might have expected a British opening of around £470,000… or, rather, we might have expected the film to do much better on both sides of the Atlantic — it’s not exactly arthouse fodder. It’s exactly the kind of feel-good stuff, cheerfully made and offered, that makes for big hits, not near flops. Very depressing.

Two new arthouse releases did do really well, however: I Am Love, an Italian film starring Tilda Swinton, debuted to the tune of £171,959 on only 35 screens, for a per-screen average of £4,913, the second best of the weekend, after Titans’ £5,217… and Tilda Swinton wasn’t in 3D. (Love opens in North America in June.) Third best per-screen went to The Infidel, a comedy about Muslims and Jews in East London, which earned £4,671 at each of its 29 cinemas. (Infidel will be at the Tribeca Film Festival later this month.) For comparison’s sake, the rest of the top five below Titans had per-screens in the £2,000s, and Alice was under £1,500.

Oh, and those big drops for How to Train Your Dragon and Kick-Ass aren’t quite as bad as they look, since last weekend’s numbers were boosted by Wednesday and Thursday previews, which would have drawn disproportionately large midweek crowds given their newnes. Excluding those previews, the drops were, for Dragon, 48 percent, and for Kick-Ass, 36 percent.

Overall box office was down 35 percent over the same weekend last year.

[numbers via UK Film Council]

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