‘King’s Speech’ rules UK box office

Posted by · 5:27 pm · January 11th, 2011

“Tailored largely for the international audience for whom the internal politics of the Royal Family seem never to lose their mystique or fascination,” I wrote in my October review of “The King’s Speech.”

I guess I have to take that back, since the film — which only opened on Friday in its home country — has become a genuine UK box-office phenomenon, as opposed to the specialized success it’s been across the pond.

The film handily knocked “Gulliver’s Travels” off the #1 spot (bleak times, these) with a weekend gross of £3.52 million. (That’s about $5.5 million, if you like your figures translated, though it goes with saying that UK and US numbers are not comparable.) To put that in context, that’s over four times what another royal-themed prestige drama, “The Queen,” made on only slightly fewer screens back in the autumn of 2006.

As for the last British Oscar heavyweight to open amid the January hype — well, as Charles Gant points out in his Guardian box-office column, fellow crowdpleaser “Slumdog Millionaire” raked in just over half “The King’s Speech”‘s weekend gross two years ago, albeit with a smaller screen count.

The British public, it would appear, have cast their vote overwhelmingly in favor of the royal biopic (“The Social Network,” by the way, had a lesser opening weekend of £2.49 million on an equal number of screens). Expect this bona fide hit status to seal what was already a likely BAFTA victory, while support for the film from the Academy’s Brit block could be even feistier than previously thought.

[Photo: The Weinstein Company]

→ 14 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

14 responses so far

  • 1 1-11-2011 at 5:43 pm

    Mickche said...

    It’s also doing enormously well in Australia, and has made almost $10 million over 3 weekends, despite playing on only 107 screens.
    I haven’t seen a film do so well since Avatar. It’s average last week was $30,000/screen and last weekend did $20,000/screen despite being its third weekend of release.

    Defintley a crowd-pleaser

  • 2 1-11-2011 at 5:47 pm

    Mickche said...

    Just an additional note, if comparing The King’s Speech and The Social Network.
    The Social Network has made $12 million in 11 weeks at the Australian boxoffice (and opening on about 300 screens)
    The King’s Speech hs made $9.3 million in under 3 weeks on 107 screens.
    The Australian public has decided as well.

  • 3 1-11-2011 at 6:28 pm

    Graysmith said...

    In related news, Black Swan shot up to second place at the North American box office on Monday even though it’s still only playing in roughly 1600 theaters. Pretty incredible how all these award hopefuls are doing at the box offices, especially compared to how poorly just about everything else is doing.

  • 4 1-11-2011 at 6:49 pm

    JJ1 said...

    That’s what it is ^.

    I just wish that this happened every year; with big Oscar hopefuls littering the screens.

    Why must there be lamebrain “blockbusters” competing in Oscar time? You know?

    As for The King’s Speech, that’s just a big wow, right there (England & Australia’s numbers).

  • 5 1-11-2011 at 7:39 pm

    forts said...

    Just saw that Colin Firth is gonna be on The Daily Show tonight… Interesting audience he’s going for

  • 6 1-11-2011 at 8:11 pm

    americanrequeim said...

    I no longer know which film to support this year.

  • 7 1-11-2011 at 8:30 pm

    Dooby said...

    Also worth noting! 127 Hours turned up SECOND on the UK Box office – that’s gotta mean something? I thought it would be restricted to arthouse!

  • 8 1-11-2011 at 9:39 pm

    rosengje said...

    Guy, you should do a weekly international box office column. It would be fascinating to see which titles over- or under-perform abroad and would also highlight films with staggered release patterns.

  • 9 1-12-2011 at 2:24 am

    Scott Coleman said...

    King’s Speech for the win. I can feel it! Besides England needs this win as a finger to the new government.

  • 10 1-12-2011 at 2:39 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Rosengje: Thanks for the suggestion. My box office knowledge is pretty limited, but it’s worth a thought. If you are interested in UK box office news, however, Charles’s column (linked above) is a weekly must-read.

  • 11 1-12-2011 at 7:35 am

    red_wine said...

    Rottentomatoes just released their Golden Tomato awards and again The King’s Speech was the highest-rated film by users and was top-ranked over such fancied populist films like Inception and Toy Story 3. And it has been winning audience awards at festival after festival.

    I think it is truly the people’s picture in the race and those who see it, love it.

  • 12 1-12-2011 at 8:13 am

    SC said...

    I’ll finally get to see this on Friday; it’s been a while getting into Charlottetown cinemas.

  • 13 1-12-2011 at 9:41 am

    Ella said...

    The Social Network has made $12 million in 11 weeks at the Australian boxoffice (and opening on about 300 screens). The King’s Speech hs made $9.3 million in under 3 weeks on 107 screens.

    So much for all the bleating over here about TSN and the “zeitgeist.”

  • 14 1-12-2011 at 11:58 pm

    Glenn said...

    Interestingly, Quickflix – Australia’s version of Netflix if you will – announced their most requested titles and the #1 of the year was “The Hurt Locker” (it was released theatrical in March, if I remember correctly). That’s pretty darn indicative of “the Oscar effect” in 2010.