Street Dance 3D made £1.8m on opening weekend, with a tally of £2.4m including preview screenings; Film also opens number two in France and number four in The Netherlands

Street Dance 3D has boogied its way to become a UK hit, beating studio tentpoles Prince of Persia, Robin Hood and Iron Man 2 to take the top slot at the UK box office.

Street Dance 3D earned $2.4m (£1.8m) on opening weekend, with a tally of $3.5m (£2.4m) including preview screenings. The figures are also notable because unusually sunny weather could have kept some fans out of cinemas in Britain.

The film launched on a record 345 3D screens, a higher screen count than the likes of Avatar (305). Saturday was the film’s biggest draw, taking in $1.1m (£768,240) in that day alone.

The film could have done another 30% of that level of business if not for the weather, says Rupert Preston, co-founder of UK-based Vertigo Films, which produced and released the $7.2m (£5m) project.

“Next week is half term [a UK school break] and then there’s the bank holiday [on May 31], so we’re hoping next week could be the film’s biggest week,” Preston tells Screen. Also, the film’s single and soundtrack (with N-Dubz and Pixie Lott) are released today and some of the cast will perform on Wednesday’s National Movie Awards, which will air during primetime on ITV. An online game has also launched.

The film did well across the UK, he noted, and not just with the core target audience of teenage girls. Vertigo also saw younger kids attending (ages 9-10) as well as parents, some going without kids.

The film has a cushy window on 3D screens (the next UK 3D release will be at the end of June) so it could have staying power theatrically. “It’s a non-World Cup audience,” Preston also notes of audiences later in June.

The marketing for Street Dance started during shooting, when a Facebook page drew 15,000 friends before the film even wrapped. In addition to new-media marketing with Facebook, Twitter and other sites, Vertigo did a more traditional roadshow (Carphone Warehouse sponsored) last week, taking dancers out to events in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Southampton. Including those showings last week, Preston estimates there were 30-40 pre-release screenings across the UK.

The box-office numbers also make it the biggest-ever opening weekend for a Lottery-funded film — The Vertigo production was backed by the UK Film Council, whose Premiere Fund put in £1m. The previous record holders for Lottery-supported films’ opening weekends were Bend it like Beckham on £2m and St Trinian’s on £1.8m

Little Gaddesden Productions and BBC Films also co-financed.

The film is the UK’s first production shot entirely in 3D.

The film is showing early signs of success outside of Britain as well: In France, the film’s release by Metropolitan was second only to Robin Hood, and Street Dance was fourth in The Netherlands for E1. The film also launched this weekend in French-speaking Switzerland, Greece and Belgium.

International sales are being handled by Protagonist Pictures, which has sold it widely internationally.

Protagonist notes that there are 30 territories with release dates scheduled and six not scheduled yet. Key openings this weekend will be Spain (Aurum) and Australia/New Zealand (Transmission)

The film is rolling out over the next few weeks through June and July in all there are 30 territories with release dates scheduled, and a further 6 not yet scheduled. On June 3, Germany and German-speaking Switzerland will launch the film.

“Between now and the end of June, the film will be on about 1,500-2,000 3D screens in Europe,” Preston says.

Duo Max & Dania directed the film. The story follows a London street dance crew who has to work with ballet dancers in return for rehearsal space. Charlotte Rampling plays the ballet teacher, and the cast also includes Nichola Burley (Donkey Punch), dancers Richard Winsor, George Sampson, Diversity and Champions Flawless.