'Avatar' leads surge, taking $140 million in U.K.

LONDON — U.K. box office performance is up 16% in the first quarter of 2010 year-on-year, generating £291.1 million ($449 million) at the box office.

It’s no surprise the surge was pushed by “Avatar’s” record-breaking, worldwide success — the pic amassed more than $140 million in Blighty’s cinemas, of which $100 million was taken in 2010.

The Federal Distributors’ Association found that the 3D injection has helped bulk-up box office receipts this year — 78% of “Avatar’s” gross was gained from 3D while “Alice in Wonderland” (also in 3D) is fast-approaching the $60 million mark after five weeks on release.

These figures follow a robust 2009 for the territory when U.K. admissions for the year reached 173.5 million, a seven-year high while box-office receipts hit $1.45 billion, an all-time high for the territory.

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