'Billy Elliot' Musical Becomes First Cinema Event to Top U.K. Box Office

Billy Elliot Still - H 2014
Courtesy Everett Collection

Billy Elliot Still - H 2014

Sunday's live broadcast of the stage show was beamed to 553 screens

A special screening of Billy Elliot the Musical Live has danced its way to the top of the U.K. and Ireland box office, the first time ever for a cinema event release.

Beamed live from London’s Victoria Palace on Sunday to a record 553 locations, including the former miner’s institute where some of the musical is set, the screening took in $3.1 million. It beat the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special in 2013, which took $2.9 million.

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The second box office spot went to another new entry, the Denzel Washington-starrer The Equalizer, which opened with $3 million, despite screening at 96 fewer venues than Billy Elliot.

Last week’s number one The Boxtrolls was pushed to third, taking $1.8 million, while U.K. comedy What We Did On Our Holiday, starring Rosamund Pike and David Tennant, opened with $1.3 million.

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The fifth spot was reserved for Liam Neeson’s latest ex-cop routine and last week’s No. 2 film, A Walk Among the Tombstones, which earned $978,000.

While Billy Elliot the Musical Live may be the first time an event release has topped the U.K. charts, they’ve been steadily rising in prominence. Earlier this month it was revealed that the live broadcast of the final show of Monty Python Live (mostly) in July had earned $6.58 million worldwide.