Brit B.O. slumps in first half of ’05

June recorded steepest drop of year to date

LONDON — U.K. cinema admissions were down 8.6% to 74.7 million in the first half of 2005, after a dismal second quarter at the box office.

Ticket sales from January to March were up 3%, but they slumped by 18.8% from April to June, according to figures released by the Cinema Advertising Assn.

June recorded the steepest drop of the year to date, down 28.6% on the same month last year.

Star Wars: Episode III — Return of the Sith” was the top grosser for the second month in succession, followed by “Batman Begins” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”

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