Mel Gibson's Vietnam War film, We Were Soldiers, opened in the UK this week but met with a surprisingly average result. Playing at 384 sites the fourth-placed title grossed $1.077m (£757,760) for an okay screen average of $2,807 - the lowest average amongst the top five.
The result will be disappointing for Icon Film Distribution; We Were Soldiers is its first release of 2002. The figures were unable even to match the previous weekend's opening of Helkon SK's The Mothman Prophecies ($1.081m) which played at 98 fewer sites than Soldiers and lacked the box office draw of a star of Gibson's stature.
The figures suggest that UK audiences may be tiring of war-themed films compared to the US. Soldiers claimed a strong $20.2m when in opened last week in North America and has now made $40.6m in 10 days. Similarly Columbia TriStar's Black Hawk Down is coming to the end of its run in the UK after eight weeks having made a healthy but hardly spectacular $8.2m (£5.8m), while it continues to play well after 11 weeks in the US having made $106.7m to date. Early in the year 20th Century Fox's Behind Enemy Lines was able to drum up just $4m (£2.8m) in the UK, it grossed $58.7m in North America. Even FilmFour's Charlotte Gray, a war film aimed out of the action genre, has been unable to find much of an audience in the UK having taken just $1.7m (£1.2m) after three weeks - it fell off 67% this week. Now eyes will turn to another Fox film, Hart's War, which top-lines Bruce Willis but has performed weakly in the US having grossed $18.6m after four weeks, which opens in the UK on April 26.
The top three UK positions remained unchanged from last week with Ocean's Eleven leading ($2.6m), Monsters, Inc. ($2.0m) in second and A Beautiful Mind at three with $1.2m. Moving back into the top five was Gosford Park which took $896,541 in its sixth weekend on release. The Robert Altman film has now grossed $11.3m in the country.
The only other opener released this week was Warner Bros' Hearts In Atlantis. The drama, which stars Anthony Hopkins, saw a poor turnout managing just $157,600 (£110,793) from its 146 sites for an average of $1,079.