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Billy Elliot dances its way to the top in the UK

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Fobilly elliot3r the first time ever, a live event has topped the charts in the form of Billy Elliot the Musical, which took £1,904,098 from more than 500 screens across the UK on September 28th.

It was broadcast live from London’s Victoria Palace Theatre and was the widest ever cinema release of a live event. The musical is written by Lee Hall, who adapted it from his 2000 film, and directed by Stephen Daldry, the musical features music from Elton John with choreography by Peter Darling.

Encores of the screening will surely see it push past the £2m mark with bookings until December 19th 2015, although it has a long way to go to catch the market leader in this sector, the National Theatre’s production of War Horse (£2.7m).

The musical has been met with extremely positive reviews with Charles Spencer of the Telegraph stating, “This is not a time to beat about the bush. Billy Elliot strikes me as the greatest British musical I have ever seen, and I have not forgotten Lionel Bart’s Oliver! or Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. There is a rawness, a warm humour and a sheer humanity here that are worlds removed from the soulless slickness of most musicals.”

Leading the market on Friday and Saturday was Denzel Washington’s The Equalizer, which narrowly missed out on top spot, after Billy Elliot’s triumph on Sunday, with takings of £1,890,146 on its opening weekend. It’s the biggest opening for Washington since Safe House, co-starring Ryan Reynolds, began its run in February 2012 with £2.14m.

It is an American thriller film starring Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Haley Bennett, Bill Pullman, and Melissa Leo and is based on the television series of same name.

The plot follows a man (Washington), who believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by – he has to help her.

The Equalizer has received mixed reviews from critics with Jason Korsner of UK Screen stating, “At times you feel that other films have got there first – the Final Destination team long since ran through the most innovative ways to meet your end at a DIY superstore – but you don’t go to see a big screen remake of a 30 year old TV show for originality. The film-makers had an age-old Hollywood problem, the odds were stacked against them, they turned to Denzel Washington and he equalized the odds for them.”

Down to third for the stop motion film The Boxtrolls that still made an impressive £1,130,062 on its third week on release, grossing £4,947,935 in the UK so far. The film, which is based on the novel Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow, features the voices of an array of actors including Game of Thrones star Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Sir Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade and Tracy Morgan.

Our third new entry on the box office charts is British comedy What We Did on our Holiday, which made £811,087 on its opening weekend, debuting it at fourth. It was written and directed by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin who created BBC sitcom Outnumbered, and due to the success of the show led to making the film which features similar improvisational techniques and also features two London parents and their three young children. It stars David Tennant and Rosamund Pike as Doug and Abi McLeod who, with their three children, travel to the Scottish Highlands for Doug’s father Gordie’s (played Billy Connolly) birthday.

What We Did on our Holiday was received to mixed reviews with Simon Reynolds of Digital Spy stating, “The film’s wild swings in tone are both its biggest strength and weakness. Hamilton and Jenkin cram so many ideas into 95 minutes that some inevitably fail to register. Still, if you’re willing to go with it and accept its more outlandish moments, then this bittersweet blend of humour and tragedy is worth your time.”

Liam Neeson’s crime thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones falls to fifth place on its second weekend by bringing in £603,062, which tallied £2,691,989 in cinema ticket sales so far. The film, which is based on a novel by Lawrence Block of the same name, stars Neeson, Dan Stevens, Boyd Holbrook, and Sebastian Roché. The story follows private investigator Matthew Scudder (Neeson) who is hired by a drug kingpin (Steven) to find out who kidnapped and murdered his wife. A Walk Among the Tombstones has received positive reviews from critics with praise directed at the film’s cast, especially Neeson’s performance.

Sixth place goes to British film Pride that brought in £400,247 and on its third week on release has totalled £2,712,148.

Six weeks on the charts for sci-fi thriller Lucy that has gained £377,138 from last weekend adding to its gross to make £13,717,003. It stars Scarlett Johansson who plays a woman whose brain becomes extremely powerful after taking a strange new substance while acting as a drug mule.

Following in eighth place is Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which brought in £340,417 on its ninth weekend on release, marking its total in the UK as £27,768,628.

Falling from fifth place to ninth is British thriller The Riot Club that pulled in £301,607 on its second week on release. Written by Laura Wade, it is based on her 2010 play Posh and stars Max Irons, Sam Claflin and Douglas Booth as the story follows two first-year students at Oxford University, who join the infamous Riot Club, where reputations can be made or destroyed over the course of a single evening. To date, it has grossed £1,121,764 in the UK.

Rounding off the top ten is comedy Sex Tape that made £264,384 and on its fourth weekend has totalled £4,068,571.

Next week sees the eagerly anticipated Gone Girl, American mystery thriller which is based on the 2012 novel of same name and the upcoming releases of Hindi action romantic musical film Bang Bang, American dark fantasy horror film Dracula Untold and also, American sports drama Draft Day which stars Kevin Costner.

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