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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 January, 2004, 11:45 GMT
UK cinema avoids big downturn
Love Actually
Love Actually was most successful British film of the year
The UK box office for 2003 looks to have avoided a predicted huge slump thanks to some strong movies opening at the end of the year.

There had been fears that receipts would be well down on the record 812m set in 2002.

But after a late surge by films such as Lord of the Rings and Love Actually there was a fall of only 2m, according to Screen International.

Figures reflect sales in the US, which fell for the first time since 1991.

According to box office auditors Exhibitor Relations, ticket sales in the US fell 0.5% to $9.27bn (5.17bn).

In the UK, Finding Nemo proved to be the most popular film of last year, with takings of 37.3m, according to Screen International.

Despite a mixed critical reaction, The Matrix Reloaded, the second in the trilogy, came in second with a total of 33.3m, followed by Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King with 29.7m.

Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo was the biggest film of the year
But the final Lord of the Rings was only released in the final weeks of the year and is still continuing to do brisk business at the box office as the most popular film of the moment.

There had been early predictions that the final total would be some 17% down on 2002, which saw blockbusters Spider-Man and Star Wars: Attack of the Clones released.

But the strong openings of comedy Love Actually, which took 29.7m to make it the biggest British film of the year, and Pirates of the Caribbean with 28.7m prevented a slump.

Next year could prove a difficult one because it will be the first time in three years that no Lord of the Rings film will be released, but there will be a new Harry Potter movie in June as well as sequels to Spider-Man, Shrek and Scooby-Doo.

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Global box office hits new high
30 Oct 03  |  Entertainment

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