Billy Elliot live is U.K. cinema hit

Posted Oct 1, 2014 by Tim Sandle
A live screening of "Billy Elliot the Musical Live" has topped the U.K. and Ireland box office. This is the first time an event screening has reached number one.
Billy Elliot the Musical logo
Billy Elliot the Musical logo
SC Productions
Using cinemas to broadcast plays and musicals from theaters as live events has been growing in popularity. The screenings bring plays to a wider audience, especially for hard-to-get-tickets-for shows and then also help to boost cinema audiences to, especially mid-week.
One recent screening has pulled in more people than any other. According to the BBC, as screening of "Billy Elliot the Musical Live" last weekend raised £1.9 million ($3 million) from ticket sales. This amount was gathered from over 500 cinemas. So popular was the broadcast that it narrowly pushed Denzel Washington's The Equalizer retread into second place.
"Billy Elliot" began as a 2000 British drama movie. It describes the tale of a young boy during the time of 1984-85 coal miners' strike, and it is set in north-east England. The young boy, called Jamie, is an aspiring dancer who has to deal with the negative stereotype of the male ballet dancer. The story is a feel good one, although it also deals with the problems of the time and makes a political point about the damaging policies of the then Thatcher Conservative government on communities in England.
The play then became a novel, issued a year later. Following this, "Billy Elliot the Musical" opened in London 2005. This was followed by openings in Australia in 2007 and on Broadway in 2008.
The musical turned out to be a huge hit, picking up Tony awards in the U.S.. The music is by Elton John, and the lyrics are by Lee Hall, who wrote both the novel and the screenplay. The production is still running strongly, as last weekends cinema audiences are testament to.