U.K. Cinema Admissions See First-Quarter Slump

LONDON – U.K. movie admissions fell by just over two million in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same period last year despite the rollout of big draws, including Warner Bros.' The Lego Movie, Disney's Muppets Most Wanted and Universal's The Wolf of Wall Street.

January-through-March admissions tallied 39.9 million this year, a fall of 2.1 million from the 42 million attendees posted in 2013.

March admissions fell 5 percent, hitting 10.4 million this year, down from 2013's tally of 10.9 million, according to Film Distributors' Association figures.

The slight fall in the first quarter may be given a second-quarter boost as blockbuster rollouts for Captain America 2, Rio 2 and Noah were all timed around the traditional Easter break in the U.K. which this year fell late in the calendar.

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Easter weekend this year began on April 18 while last year's holiday started March 29, pushing three weekend children's holiday days and releases into the first quarter.

But the next quarter began well with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 web slinging its way to being this year's biggest box office opener to date.

The superhero movie brought in five-day takings of $15 million (£9 million), compared to the year's previous best opener The Lego Movie, which built an $13 million (£8 million) opening.

The U.K. box office faces challenges in 2014 with no James Bond franchise release scheduled to bring in the punters, the prospect of a decent run of summer weather predicted and the World Cup soccer tournament finals over a month from June 12, which sees England compete in Brazil, which means games will be live on TV in the evening here.