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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 November 2005, 15:08 GMT
Gromit film 'lifts UK box office'
Wallace and Gromit
Wallace and Gromit's film took 9.4m in its opening weekend
British movies including the Wallace and Gromit film have helped the UK box office beat a slump in Europe, according to US trade weekly Variety.

The UK box office gross for January to October was down by just three per cent on the same period last year.

This compares with a 21% fall in France, 20% in Germany, 18% in Italy and 12% in Spain.

Variety puts the UK success down to hit films with "Brit roots", like Wallace and Gromit's Curse Of The Were-Rabbit.

The magazine said the UK box office totalled $1.18bn (666m) in the period, down from $1.22bn ($688m) on January-October last year.

In the first three weeks since it was released, the Wallace and Gromit film passed the total for creator Aardman Animation's previous hit, Chicken Run.

British offerings

Figures on the UK's box office from Screen International show Aardman's film grossed 25.8m from its release until 30 October. This compared with 9.8m for Nanny McPhee, 2.2m for Saw II and 1.9m for The Legend of Zorro. Tim Burton's Corpse Bride was fifth in the ratings, bringing in a total of 3.1m from its release.

Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, starring Johnny Depp, was another success the year, based on Welsh-born author Roald Dahl's novel.

Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Johnny Depp plays Willy Wonka, a role made famous by Gene Wilder

The film has taken $65.2m (36.8m) in the UK, more than 30% of its total outside of the US and Canada.

The latest adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley, has taken $24.6m (13.8m) in the UK, more than three-quarters of its total outside of the US and Canada.

In Germany, the film took just $1.8m (1m).

Variety said the release of a series of blockbusters means there is "a real possibility" that the UK box office could buck the international trend by matching last year's total.

The fourth Harry Potter film is released later this month, followed in December by the debut of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the adaptation of CS Lewis' novels.

Both movies have UK settings and British casts.

Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong is also expected to be a major draw in December.

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