12 Years A Slave beats American Hustle to top UK box office

The Steve McQueen film made £2.5m in its opening weekend
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It may not have won as many Golden Globes as American Hustle, but 12 Years A Slave has beaten the film to top the UK box office.

Steve McQueen’s drama, which won a Golden Globe for Best Picture- Drama on Sunday, earned £2.5 million in its opening weekend in the UK, beating American Hustle to take first place.

The film, which stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender, was released in the UK on Friday 10 January.

The epic follows the true-life story of Solomon Northup, an African-American who was kidnapped into slavery in 1841.

American Hustle, which won three Golden Globes at the weekend, slipped to second place in the UK box office with £1.9 million in takings.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug dropped to third place, earning £1.5 million, while Frozen came in fourth with £1.3 million.

Other new entries included The Railway Man, starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, and Delivery Man, which came in sixth and seventh place respectively.

Critics have praised 12 Years A Slave for its honest portrayal of slavery, describing it as a “brutal” depiction of what slaves were forced to endure in the US.

The Independent’s film critic Geoffrey Macnab said: “Its brilliance lies in its frankness. McQueen is forcing audiences to confront the dehumanising brutality of slavery, something few other filmmakers have been prepared to address.”

The acclaimed film has been nominated for 10 Bafta awards and is hotly tipped to receive a number of Oscar nominations when they are announced tomorrow.

Steve McQueen won Best Director for the film at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards last week, where he was heckled by a critic as a “garbage man” and an “embarrassing doorman”.

African-American critic Armond White took offence at 12 Years A Slave, which he described as “torture porn”.

He has since been dismissed from the New York Film Critics Circle for heckling McQueen.