UIP celebrated another successful campaign at the weekend as About A Boy, starring Hugh Grant, opened to strong figures of $5.4m (£3.7m), including $938,688 of previews. Opening at a massive 446 sites, second only this year to Monsters, Inc.'s 503, the film recorded the third-highest opening of the year so far after Monsters, Inc. ($13.4m for BVI) and Warner Bros' Ocean's Eleven ($7.4m from 433 sites).
However About A Boy was unable to measure up to previous Working Title productions handled by UIP, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones's Diary. Notting Hill took a weekend gross of $6.3m when it went on wide release in 1999 at 457 sites. Last year's hit Bridget Jones's Diary, scored a massive $8.3m from 417 sites, including previews of $1.66m.
Excluding previews About A Boy was also unable to match the opening weekend site average of UIP stablemate Ali G IndaHouse. Ali G, sans previews, grossed $4.3m from 396 sites for an average of $10,954 six weeks ago. In comparison Boy's $4.5m from 446 sites resulted in an average of $10,109.
About A Boy is the latest in a string of successes for British films at the UK box office in 2002.
Relatively unaffected by the Boy's opening, Bend It Like Beckham dropped just 28% in its third weekend on release taking second place with a three-day gross of $1.8m. The film, distributed by Helkon SK, now has a total gross of $9.4m. Also still in the top 15 is Ali G which has grossed $14.8m after six weeks. Just outside the chart Entertainment's Gosford Park also continues to stack up the figures with $17.4m recorded to date.
Elsewhere in the chart this week 20th Century Fox's Roadkill (aka Joy Ride) played well at 266 sites, taking $1.1m (£784,843) for a site average of $4,289 and fourth position. Also opening was Entertainment's John Q, starring Denzel Washington, which landed in seventh place with $443,526 (£305,146).
Another UIP title, The Scorpion King, dropped off 30% from its opening last week and took third with a healthy $1.5m (£1.05m) at 407 sites. Rounding out the top five with $873,756 was Ice Age. The computer-animated hit now stands at $19.2m after six weeks on release.