`Notting Hill' tops $100m in America

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THE ROMANTIC comedy movie Notting Hill has become the first British film to break through the $100m (pounds 64m) barrier at the US box office.

It means that Notting Hill has almost doubled the takings of the previous biggest British film, The Crying Game - which took $62.5m - and has taken nearly twice as much as Four Weddings And A Funeral in 1994. Both comedies were scripted by Richard Curtis, starred Hugh Grant and were produced by Duncan Kenworthy.

Notting Hill has reached the $100m mark in just six weeks. It has been helped in America by the co-starring role of Hollywood star Julia Roberts, which the majority of film-goers said was their main reason for seeing it. In its opening weekend Notting Hill took $27.8m in America, the biggest opening for a romantic comedy. In the film Grant plays the owner of a travel bookshop in the London district of Notting Hill who falls for an international movie star played by Roberts. The film cost pounds 35m to make and has taken more than pounds 20m in the UK alone.

The success has been all the more remarkable at a time when Star Wars: Episode I - the Phantom Menace is on general release and is in line to become the most successful movie of all time with box office takings of $373m (pounds 238.8m) in seven weeks.