| Hugh Grant with Martine McCutcheon at the premiere of Love Actually in London. (Reuters)
A laid-back Hugh Grant led an all-star British outing in London on Sunday night for the premiere of Love Actually to news from the US that the “feel good” comedy, made for £23 million, had grossed more than £13 million in 10 days, despite mixed reviews.
But Richard Curtis, the director, played down predictions that it could be the biggest British film hit of all time. “I get a feeling it will be hard to match Notting Hill, just because of the Julia Roberts factor.”
Notting Hill, written by Curtis, made £230 million, with his other creations for the Working Title movie team, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Four Weddings and a Funeral, grossing £175 million and £154 million respectively.
Curtis said: “Notting Hill was the highest-earning movie we have ever made. That took $27 million in three days at the start. Love Actually is having a gradual release in the United States. We’re hoping word of mouth will do the trick.”
A.. Scott, chief reviewer for the New York Times, decried the film as “an indigestible Christmas pudding”. Curtis dismissed the sharp words. He said: “The reactions of cinema-goers in America seem pretty good.”
Curtis, whose film brand, like that of James Bond, seems to be a licence to print money, said that he had been accused of writing the same script over and again. “That’s wrong. These are the sort of stories I like to film. I write for myself and my close friends.”
With him on Sunday night were a cast most producers would kill for, including Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Laura Linney, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, Martine McCutc-heon and Keira Knightley.
Grant plays a bachelor Prime Minister who falls for the tea lady at No. 10, acted by McCutcheon. He said: “Although it was a superb script, I was a little nervous going back to being Mr Nice Guy. I quite enjoyed being less nice in Bridget Jones and About A Boy.”