It may have seen off the opposition comfortably, but it was not all plain sailing for Buena Vista International's (BVI) Pearl Harbor on its opening weekend in the UK, its first major international outing since its US debut a couple of weeks ago. The film, which proved critic-proof on its Stateside opening, shows signs of having been hit by the vitriolic media broadsides in the UK, where it took $3,694,177 (£2,611,783) from 457 sites over the three-day weekend and $4,349,571 (£3,075,147) since its Thursday opening. This was only the sixth best opening of the year.
The film is still far from the flop many critics had been predicting, with the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced epic hitting the number one spot and showing a good three-day site average of $8,084 (£5,715). And with no major blockbuster competition appearing within the next two weeks it should hold on to its lead until the triple whammy of Evolution, Shrek and Tomb Raider make their openings in consecutive weeks from June 22.
Where Pearl Harbor disappoints is in comparison with other openings this year (see chart below). Buena Vista has compared the film's potential appeal to that of Titanic - Fox's behemoth, however, took $6.2m (£4.4m) on its opening weekend in January 1998 from 416 sites. And The Mummy Returns, for example, took an additional $2,769,332 (£1,957,918) over its three-day opening weekend, although its shorter running time allows for more screening slots per day.
Pearl Harbor, which has taken nearly $120m in 10 days on release in North America despite dropping over 50% from its opening weekend, continues to roll out internationally over the coming weeks, opening in France on Wednesday (June 6) and Germany on Thursday (June 7).
Top 10 UK openers 2001
Rank Title (Dist) Release date, Number of sites, Opening gross $ (£)
1 Hannibal (UIP) Feb 16, 421, 9.05m (6.4m)
2 The Mummy Returns (UIP) May 18, 454, 8.4m (5.9m)
3 Bridget Jones's Diary (UIP) Apr 13, 417, 8.1m (5.7m)
4 What Women Want (Icon) Feb 2, 404, 4.8m (3.4m)
5 Cast Away (UIP) Jan 12, 394, 3.97m (2.8m)
6 Pearl Harbor (BVI) May 31*, 457, 3.7m (2.6m)
7 Vertical Limit (Col TriStar) Jan 19, 291, 2.7m (1.9m)
8 Miss Congeniality (Warner Bros) Mar 23, 360, 2.65m, (1.9m)
9 Captain Corelli's Mandolin (BVI) May 4, 379, 2.4m (1.7m)
19 Rugrats In Paris - The Movie (UIP) Apr 6, 460, 2.1m (1.5m)
* Opened on a Thursday -figure represents Friday to Sunday only.