UK Weekend Box Office (Oct 16th – Oct 18th)
‘Hotel Transylvania 2‘ cheated its way to No. 1 at the U.K. box-office with strong numbers thanks to extensive previews and ‘Suffragette‘ had a similar release strategy with relative shared success. But the rest of the new releases such as ‘Pan‘, ‘Crimson Peak‘ and ‘The Program‘ under-performed. All this and more happened at the UK box-office last weekend.
It seems like after the flop that was ‘Regression‘ last week and the lacklustre opening of ‘Crimson Peak‘ that only one Halloween-themed movie looks set to reign supreme this month. I say that because while it may seem like ‘Hotel Transylvania 2‘ won the weekend, this is actually its third weekend in theatres thanks to an extensive preview-session (October 3rd, 4th, 10th and 11th) grossing £6.32M across all seven days. If you just count the three-day “opening” weekend results it grossed £2.82M.
That’s not to belittle the box-office rewards for ‘Hotel Transylvania 2‘, however. Considering the last movie’s lifetime gross in 2012 was £8.30M then this movie looks set to easily surpass its predecessor, which is the type of box-office trajectory that are expected of sequels. It’s a similar growth for Sony Animation’s other franchise, ‘Cloudly With a Chance of Meatballs‘ as the second movie grossed twice as much as its predecessor (£12.59M and £6.64M respectively). ‘Hotel Transylvania 2‘ is easily set to become a worldwide animation hit, but in the U.K. it doesn’t look like it’ll top Sony Animation’s biggest successes ‘Arthur Christmas‘ (£21.40M) and ‘The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists‘ (£16.86M). But with half-term fast approaching and no ‘Goosebumps‘ in the U.K. until February (WTF, Sony?), this movie could have long legs.
‘Suffragettes‘s Monday, October 12th opening was created through sheer necessity thanks to the actions of Sony. Not with ‘Hotel Transylvania 2‘, but with the upcoming James Bond movie ‘Spectre‘, which was originally going to open on October 23rd before moving to the 26th putting ‘Suffragettes‘ original release date of October 30th in jeopardy. But after its debut at the London Film Festival on October 7th, Pathé released ‘Suffragette‘ on the Monday, essentially copying Sony’s seven-day opening “weekend” figure with £2.93M.
The Monday move made a lot of sense, however, as ‘Suffragette‘, a female-led, historical movie was easily going to cater to older, weekday viewing audience members. Its weekend tally was £1.54M and it’s interesting to see this type of movie get a pre-half term Monday release which is usually reserved to family-blockbusters like ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban‘ from May 2004 (£9.50M opening weekend and it stayed at No. 1 for four weeks). But due to the immediate success of ‘Suffragette‘, don’t be surprised to see this tactic get employed again for more high-brow affair.
While Warner Bros. ‘Pan‘ was an unmitigated flop in the U.S., it actually fared slightly better in the U.K. though this was due to weekend previews from the week prior. Its five-day numbers stand at £2.73M but its “opening” weekend figures stand at £1.68M. That’s not a disastrous number, but Warner Bros. were clearly banking on ‘Pan‘ doing well in the U.K. as it had its World Première in London as opposed to going to Hollywood to get out the red carpet. The latest comparison to ‘Pan‘ would be Disney’s ‘Cinderella‘ which opened in May to £3.80M, not to mention being made on 2/3 the budget. There’s no family-friendly competition until Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur‘ on November 27th, so it’s not out for the count just yet. Either way, I guess champagne was not drank this weekend over at Warner Bros., even it can’t be called a U.K. flop just yet.
‘Crimson Peak‘ had a pretty weak U.K. marketing push despite the appeal of actors such as Tom Hiddleston in this country as well as the Hammer Horror sensibilities which have pushed movies like ‘The Woman in Black‘ (£3.15M opening and three weeks at No. 1) to profitable heights. Previous Guillermo Del Toro comparisons aren’t really fair because ‘Crimson Peak‘ is a unique beast compared to his previous films, which is probably what made it such a hard sell. Either way, Universal can’t be too happy with this soft opening of £967K, especially since it’s easily the best thing the U.K. has going for it in terms of actual horror this month.
On a side note, the National Theatre’s production of ‘Hamlet‘ starring Benedict Cumberbatch didn’t qualify for the Top 10 as it didn’t play during the weekend, but its numbers were record-breaking for NT Live. 225,000 people watched in 25 countries which makes it the biggest live-theatre broadcast in history. It played in 652 cinemas (87% of all U.K. cinemas) with its Thursday Night broadcast earning a whopping £1.79M with encores the next night bumping that total to £1.90M. Cumberbatch as Hamlet outgrossed David Tennant as Richard II (£1.47M) and Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus (£1.22m). More encore screenings are schedules for next weekend, so you may seen it in the Top 10, but it’s total will easily surpass £2M.
‘The Lobster‘ also played at arthouse venues and did very well with per-theatre averages of £3,062. It’s too off-beat and high-concept for many audience members, but it should continue to do well at its current venues for the next few weeks. ‘The Program‘, despite being a high-profile biopic had a terrible release rollout from StudioCanal, as it only played at 149 theatres for a opening of £144K. For comparison’s sake, ‘Philomena‘, which was from the director of ‘The Program‘ opened in 506 theatres. Nothing much to report for the holdovers except that ‘Legend‘ overtook ‘Mad Max: Fury Road‘ to become his biggest ever U.K. hit. Despite inflations for ‘Pan‘, ‘Suffragette‘ and ‘Hotel Transylvania 2‘, the U.K. box-office was up 90% from last weekend and 33% up from this time last year where ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles‘ opened at No. 1.
With ‘Spectre‘ opening next Monday, it’s weak-pickings over the next two weeks in terms of competition. Next weekend has ‘The Last Witch Hunter‘, ‘Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension‘, ‘Animal Kingdom: Let’s Go Ape‘, ‘The Big Knights‘ (from the makers of “Peppa Pig”) a Russell Brand documentary called ‘Brand: A Second Coming‘ and a Marlon Brando documentary called ‘Listen to Me Marlon‘.
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Posted In: 2015 UK Box-Office
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Posted: 23rd Oct 15