'Apocalypto' breaks U.K. records

Best opening weekend for a foreign-language pic

By Archie Thomas
Variety
January 9, 2007

LONDON -- Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto" has broken the record for opening weekend B.O. for a foreign-language pic in the U.K.

Released on 385 screens by indie distrib Icon, the blood-soaked Mayan epic grabbed $2,625,689 (including $40,144 in previews) for a $6,820 per-screen average.

Bow outstrips the previous high set by "Hero," which took 1,005,571 ($1,941,253) in its first frame in September 2004.

"Apocalypto" bow was particularly impressive given that last weekend was a competitive sesh at the U.K. box office.

A clutch of indie distribs launched a mixed bag of pics in wide release, including "Miss Potter" (Momentum), "Employee of the Month" (Lionsgate U.K.) and "White Noise: The Light" (Entertainment).

Fox's Ben Stiller starrer "Night at the Museum" and Sony's "Casino Royale" continue to draw big auds. Both dipped just 26% in their respective second and eighth frames.

"Apocalypto" received strong support from U.K. crix.

Foreign-language fare has been working well of late in Blighty. Last weekend, "Pan's Labyrinth" jumped 33% in its seventh frame en route to an impressive $3,643,896 running cume.
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