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Monday, 2 October, 2000, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Billy's box office leap
Billy Elliot
Billy Elliot: Hoping for box office success in the US
British movie Billy Elliot has taken £1.5m at the UK box office in its first weekend.

The film was bettered only by the special effects-laden blockbuster Hollow Man which took the top spot in the box office figures.

The BBC-backed production, about a miner's son struggling to become a ballet dancer, has been much praised by the critics and took just £100,000 less than the Kevin Bacon sci-fi movie.


Everywhere we have shown the film, we have had a fantastic response

Producer John Finn

The film's producer said he was totally overwhelmed by the response to the movie.

John Finn told BBC News Online that word of mouth praise had propelled the film to number two in the charts.

"The tickets sales doubled between Friday and Saturday.

"The success is great, ridiculous because we never expected anything like that."

He added: "This is a story about a kid who wants to be a ballet dancer, set against the miners' strike: we did not know who it would appeal to."

Billy Elliot is set in a northern town during the 1984 miner's strike. It tells the story of a young working class boy who chooses not to follow his widowed father's instructions that he should train to be a boxer.

Jamie Bell in Billy Elliot
Jamie Bell's performance has been highly praised

Finn added: "Hollow Man is a special effects-filled movie and has a major star in Kevin Bacon. We have done incredibly well to compete."

The film will open in the US later this month and the producers are hoping it can recreate the success of British movies The Full Monty.

Again, the producers are hoping that word of mouth praise will again help the film to success.

"Everywhere we have shown the film, we have had a fantastic response."

The film will "platform release" in a limited number of cinemas before a decision is given on a nationwide US release.

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