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The indie distribution sector in Blighty remains one of the most competitive, but off the back of a stellar year for U.K. independent cinema — “The King’s Speech” raked in $394 million and counting at the worldwide box office — morale in the sector is high and more ambitious than in previous years.

Distrib eOne benefitted nicely from its output deal with Summit that delivered the “Twilight” franchise, and it fared well early on in the year from family pic “Gnomeo and Juliet,” which grossed $25 million. Other indie distribs are focusing on wider releases with more confidence. Optimum Releasing, the U.K. arm of StudioCanal, is using its Gaul muscle to churn out bigger pics — Liam Neeson starrer “Unknown” took $10.6 million while “Source Code” earned $7.4 million at the box office.

Momentum Pictures, an Alliance Films company, not only took $73.9 million in Blighty for “The King’s Speech,” a pic that it developed with producer Iain Canning, but also enjoyed clicks thanks to an output deal with Relativity, which it renewed this year: “Limitless” and “The Fighter” took $11.6 million and $10.4 million, respectively.

Solid local fare continues to find a place with local auds. Icon’s “West Is West,” the sequel to 1999’s comedy “East Is East,” resonated with crowds on a modest 184-screen opening, taking $4.4 million while Revolver’s urban Brit comedy “Anuvahood” took $3.3 million from 166 screens.

VITAL STATS
2010 Box Office: $1.7 billion
Total 2010 releases: 558
Top 2010 Indie Film: “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” $49.2 million (eOne)
Top 2011 Pickups:
“Gambit,” Momentum Pictures
“W.E.,” Optimum Releasing
“Drive,” Icon U.K.
“Melancholia,” Artificial Eye
“Ill Manors,” Revolver Entertainment