Streetdance beats Prince of Persia at UK cinemas

Image caption,
Dance troupe Diversity make a cameo appearance in the 3D film

A British dance film featuring winners of ITV's Britain's Got Talent was the top draw at UK cinemas this weekend.

Streetdance, billed as "Britain's first 3D dance movie", took £1.79m between Friday and Sunday, with £0.7m coming from previews the previous weekend.

That put it well ahead of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which made just £1.37m in its opening weekend.

Based on the popular video game, the Hollywood blockbuster played on around 50 more screens than its UK rival.

Streetdance received £1m of its modest £4.5m budget in lottery funding from the UK Film Council, BBC Film and an independant production company Vertigo Films.

James Richardson of Vertigo said: "The fact that an independent British film has beaten the US heavyweights just shows how well Streetdance 3D has connected with audiences across the country."

Christine Langan of BBC Film added: "It's amazing performance in the UK this sunny weekend and massive international sales pay tribute to a bold, innovative and diversely talented film-making community and prove that nurturing it in the early stages pays dividends for the UK as a whole."

According to the government-backed agency, the film enjoyed the most successful opening weekend of any film it has supported in its 10-year history.

Prince of Persia, in contrast, had an estimated budget of $150m and a starry cast headed by Jake Gyllenhaal and Sir Ben Kingsley.

The film is released in the US on Friday but opened earlier in the UK and various other territories.

Streetdance tells of a London troupe who team up with ballet students for a dance competition.

The film features three acts seen on Britain's Got Talent - 2008 winner George Sampson, 2009 winners Diversity and Flawless, runners-up that same year.

John Woodward, chief executive officer of the UK Film Council, called the film "another shining example of how Lottery funding can make all the difference in discovering and nurturing new creative talent in the UK".

The release of Streetdance and Prince of Persia saw last week's top film, Robin Hood, drop down the chart to three.

Ridley Scott's retelling of the classic legend saw a 75% drop on its first weekend takings of £5.75m.

Yet its second weekend haul of £1.36m was still comparable to Persia's tally - a figure the Walt Disney Company are reportedly attributing to the weekend's hot weather.

Bollywood film Kites and Nicolas Cage thriller Bad Lieutenant were the only other new entries in this week's Top 10, debuting at five and nine respectively.

According to the UK Film Council, Streetdance has now been sold in 30 territories worldwide including Spain and Australia.

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