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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 December 2007, 10:48 GMT
Compass dominates UK box office
Dakota Blue Richards in The Golden Compass
Dakota Blue Richards plays the film's plucky young heroine Lyra
Fantasy adventure The Golden Compass has topped the UK box office chart with a first weekend haul of £7.2m.

The news will be welcomed by the film's distributors following its lacklustre opening weekend in the US.

The Philip Pullman adaptation's takings - which include two days of previews - make it the seventh highest opening of 2007 in the UK, Screen Daily reports.

Last week's top film, Christmas comedy Fred Claus, fell a place to two, with action film Hitman dropping to three.

The Golden Compass, adapted from the first instalment of Pullman's His Dark Materials book trilogy, had been expected to do well on both sides of the Atlantic.

Distributor New Line Cinema, however, admitted that its first weekend takings of $26.1m (£12.8m) in the US had been below expectations.

UK AND IRELAND BOX OFFICE
1. The Golden Compass - £7.2m
2. Fred Claus - £1.3m
3. Hitman - £0.6m
4. American Gangster - £0.5m
5. Beowulf - £0.3m
Source: Screen Daily

Animated sequel Shrek The Third was the biggest UK opening of the year, making £16.6m in its first weekend back in July.

But Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came close with an opening weekend haul of £16.5m later that month.

With the majority of films in this week's UK and Ireland top 10 making less than half their previous week's takings, Fred Claus was the only title besides The Golden Compass to pass the million pound mark.

This Friday sees the UK launch of Disney comedy Enchanted, which topped the US and Canadian chart for two weeks prior to The Golden Compass's opening.

In other movie news, National Lottery funding for UK films worth £22m a year has been approved by the European Commission.

The cash will be divided between 12 support schemes run by the UK Film Council, Scottish Screen, Northern Ireland Screen and the Film Agency for Wales.



SEE ALSO
Compass not so golden in US chart
10 Dec 07 |  Entertainment
Review: The Golden Compass
07 Dec 07 |  Entertainment
Claus crowns UK box office chart
04 Dec 07 |  Entertainment
Shrek sequel storms UK box office
03 Jul 07 |  Entertainment

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