U.K. Box Office: Ken Loach Lands His Biggest Opening to Date With 'I, Daniel Blake'

Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
'I, Daniel Blake'

The Palme D'Or winner topped the auteur's previous best, 'The Wind That Shakes the Barley.'

This year's Cannes Film Festival may feel like a century ago, but the momentum behind Palme D'Or winner I, Daniel Blake has given the movie enough steam to earn director Ken Loach his biggest U.K. opening to date.

The emotional drama, which lifts the lid on the real-life struggles of those attempting to navigate the painful bureaucracy of Britain's benefit system, took home $540,000 including previews on 93 screens, up from the $475,000 earned by Loach's The Wind That Shakes the Barley in 2006. Distributor eOne says it will increase the screen count to 150 for its second week.

Loach has been touring the country with I, Daniel Blake, which has been given the backing of an extensive grass-roots campaign taking it to communities and audiences who might not ordinarily see such a film. It has been given the backing of trade unions and endorsed by the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, who described it as "one of the most moving films" he's ever seen, urging others to see it.

"We’re thrilled to have had such a terrific response from the audience," said Loach's long-term collaborator Rebecca O'Brien. "People strongly identify with this story and the truths it tells. We’re delighted with eOne’s efforts to push it out to an audience who wouldn’t normally go to see this sort of film."

Sundance Selects will release I, Daniel Blake in the U.S. on Dec. 23.