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U.K. Box Office Surges 14% in Q1 2017 for Record Performance

Variety logo Variety 4/3/2017 Robert Mitchell
© Provided by Variety

The U.K. box office was up 14.4% year-on-year during the first quarter of 2017, according to early figures from data tracking company comScore. The record figures for the U.K. and Ireland show the market hit £380.5 million ($472.3 million) between Sunday, Jan. 1, and Friday, March 31.

The result is the highest Q1 gross box office on record for the U.K., ahead of 2016’s previous best of £332.65 million ($478.3 million). However, because of the plummeting value of the pound since last June’s Brexit referendum, the U.S. dollar value of the market’s first quarter finished behind that of 2016.

Full U.K. admissions figures for March, and therefore the full first quarter, will not be available until later this month, but results are expected to be similarly rosy. Admissions to the end of February already stood at 31.47 million, according to the U.K. Cinema Association, which was up 7.1% compared to the same period in 2016. March has since enjoyed bumper success thanks to “Logan,” “Kong: Skull Island” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

“Beauty and the Beast” proved the biggest box office winner for Q1, according to comScore, generating £46.3 million ($57.45 million) to March 31 after just 15 days of release. It was followed by awards season breakout “La La Land” with £30.3 million ($37.5 million).

The market provided hits for all ages with major successes at each end of the ratings spectrum. Third- and fourth-ranked titles for the quarter were “Sing” and “The Lego Batman Movie,” both rated U (Universal) by the U.K. British Board of Film Classification, comparable to a G rating in the U.S.

Meanwhile despite receiving the market’s most restrictive rating, 18, sequels “Fifty Shades Darker” and “T2 Trainspotting” delivered big audiences, finishing fifth and seventh for the quarter. Both titles now rank in the U.K.’s all-time top ten 18-rated films.

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