U.K. cinema admissions down 4%

Box office nevertheless rose 1% year on year

HOLLYWOOD — Cinema admissions in Blighty totaled 165 million last year, down 3.8% on 2004, according to figures released by the Cinema Advertising Assn. on Thursday.

Box office nevertheless rose 1% year on year to almost $1.5 billion.

Some 17.6 million people went to the movies in December, more than any other month and up 21% year on year, lured by a combination of blockbusters and the start of the holiday season.

Released Dec. 9, Walt Disney and Walden Media’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” was December’s top earner with $57.4 million.

Unveiled a week later, “King Kong” collected $35.5 million for second position.

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” came in third for December with $25 million. Pic was Blighty’s highest earner for 2005, notching up $81.4 million since its November opening.

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