Entertainment & Arts

Billy Elliot live screening tops UK cinema box office

Billy Elliot The Musical Live Image copyright Craig Sugden
Image caption The show saw 25 actors who have played Billy Elliot on stage come together for a special finale

A special screening of Billy Elliot the Musical Live has topped the UK and Ireland box office, a first for an event cinema release.

Sunday's live stream from London Victoria's Palace took a record £1.9m.

It was also the widest ever release of a live event, screened at 553 locations around the UK including the former Easington Colliery Miners' Institute - one of the settings of the musical.

Denzel Washington's The Equalizer opened at two with £1.89m.

The film, based on the 1980s US TV series, screened at 96 fewer locations than Billy Elliot however, which was shown at many regional venues including town halls and theatres hosting special screenings.

The musical beat the previous event cinema record set by the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor last year, which took £1.8m across 440 locations.

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Media captionBilly Elliot live breaks British Box office

'Great celebration'

Telling the story of a young boy from a northern mining town who discovers a passion for dance, Billy Elliot was broadcast to eight countries.

The live show saw 25 former and current actors - including the three original cast members - who have played Billy come together for a special finale.

It was introduced by director Stephen Daldry and featured a special message from the musical's composer Sir Elton John.

Daldry said the event was "a great celebration".

"Having the older Billys, all the kids from around the country who had been in the show before, I think it really demonstrates the legacy of the show - of kids having that extraordinary training and extraordinary ability and opportunity to really flourish."

Encore screenings will take place in 350 cinemas around the UK from 2-5 October.

Elsewhere in the box office chart, animated film The Boxtrolls took £1.13m in its third week of release falling from the top spot to number three.

Billy Connolly comedy What We Did On Our Holiday opened at four with £811,087, with Liam Neeson action A Walk Among the Tombstones at five with £603,062.

UK and Ireland box office top five
1. Billy Elliot The Musical Live - £1.9m
2. The Equalizer - £1.89m
3. The Boxtrolls - £1.13m
4. What We Did On Our Holiday - £811,087
5. A Walk Among the Tombstones - £603,062

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