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Thursday, August 26, 1999 Published at 17:32 GMT 18:32 UK


Notting Hill breaks film record

Hugh Grant: Starred in Four Weddings and Notting Hill

Romantic comedy Notting Hill is now the biggest-grossing British movie of all time, according to new figures.

The film has taken $262m (£168m) at box offices worldwide - beating the $256.5m (£164.5) total made by Four Weddings And A Funeral in 1994.

The figures, compiled by industry newspaper Screen International, also show the film has taken around £30m in the UK. The Full Monty is the most successful homegrown movie at British cinemas, having taken £52m.

Notting Hill stars Hugh Grant as a bookshop owner who meets an international film star - played by Julia Roberts - and falls in love.

Grant also starred in Four Weddings And A Funeral, which was made by the same team.

Screen International box office editor Mary Scott predicted more box office success for the film as it opens worldwide. It has just made its French debut, while cinemas in Portugal will show it from Friday and Japanese fans can see it from next month.

[ image: Julia Roberts plays a Hollywood star in the film]
Julia Roberts plays a Hollywood star in the film
She said: "I don't think Notting Hill will reach the same levels that The Full Monty managed in this country but it is still continuing to hold on.

"It is still in the top 10 after 14 weeks on release. On a worldwide basis Notting Hill will keep on going and could even reach $300m (£187.5m)."

Along with the Star Wars prequel, Notting Hill has helped boost British cinema attendances this summer. July's audiences were the largest since 1971.

Notting Hill executive producer Eric Fellner said: "It is marvellous news. The writer Richard Curtis is a genius. You've only got to look at a list of the top British films over the last five years and three of those are his - Four Weddings, Bean The Ultimate Disaster Movie and now this one."

Ian Nathan, editor of film magazine Empire, said the success of Notting Hill was down to a number of factors.

He said: "It built on the previous success of Four Weddings, it was accessible and it was very mainstream, appealing from kids through to grannies.

"There was also that element of wish-fufilment, with the ordinary guy meeting a movie star."

But he added that its definition as a British film may be a little misleading.

"You've got to look where the money goes to and that's Universal, an American film company."

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