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Battlefield drama 1917 wins 2020 UK box office in pandemic-struck year

Sam Mendes’ first world war thriller was UK cinemas’ biggest crowdpuller – though only one top 10 title was released after March lockdown

In a year devastated by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Sam Mendes’s first world war drama 1917 has emerged as the biggest earner of 2020 at the UK cinema box office, according to the annual report by box office analyst Comscore.

Released in the UK on 10 January, 1917 was inspired by anecdotes told to the director by his grandfather, Alfred Mendes, who served on the western front. It starred George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman as two soldiers charged with carrying a vital message across the battlefield, and won three Oscars (for cinematography, sound mixing and visual effects). Aided by its high profile on the award circuit, 1917 earned £44m in UK cinemas.

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