UPI sings loudest atop U.K. boxoffice

'Mamma Mia!' contributes $100.8 mil to total

LONDON -- Universal Pictures International claimed the crown as the U.K.'s No. 1 distributor in 2008 on the back of a slew of hits, the biggest of them "Mamma Mia!" which secured a whopping 67.9 million pounds ($100.8 million) according to figures obtained from Nielsen EDI.

Overall, the 2008 boxoffice hit 952 million pounds ($1.4 billion), up from £905 million in 2007.

UPI, Universal's overseas distribution arm, took 176.6 million pounds ($262.1 million) for the year, an 18.5% market share. It outgunned nearest rival Paramount Pictures International, which finished with 161 million pounds ($239 million), good for second place with a 16.9% market share.

PPI's best performer was "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," which whipped up 40 million pounds ($59.4 million) at the U.K. boxoffice.

In third was Sony Pictures International, which secured a 12.5% market share and a respectable 119.2 million pounds ($177 million). SPI's best boxoffice showing was "Quantum of Solace," which bonded with audiences to the tune of 50.7 million pounds ($75.3 million).

Warner Bros. landed at No. 4 with an 11% market share and a 105.1 million pounds ($156 million) boxoffice tally. "The Dark Knight" proved Warners' top release, earning 48.7 million pounds ($72.3 million).

Rounding out last year's top five is Walt Disney Studios International, which secured a 9.9% market share and 94.7 million pounds ($140.3 million), with "WALL-E" topping its efforts and taking 22.8 million pounds ($33.8 million).

Fox took a 9.4% market share and 89.7 million pounds ($133.1 million), with "Juno" fast-talking its way to 9.7 million pounds ($14.4 million), the data show.

Entertainment Film Distributors again was the top indie in the territory, grabbing an 8% market share and 75.9 million pounds ($112.5 million). Its best performance came from "Sex and the City," which sashayed to 26.4 million pounds ($39.2 million) for the year.

Aside from Paramount and Disney -- which secured second and fifth place, respectively, for the second year in a row -- 2008 marked a turnaround for all involved.

Warners took top honors in 2007 largely on the back of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," while Fox and Universal followed in third and fourth, respectively, and Sony finished in seventh.

Sony's leap into the top five in 2008 can be credited to the performance of "Quantum," which accounted for 42.5% of the U.K. distribution arm's boxoffice.