The winner: Beauty and the Beast
A sunny weekend and a dearth of strong new releases should have created a tough environment at UK cinemas. But business remained sturdy almost entirely thanks to Beauty and the Beast. Declining a gentle 37% from the opening frame, the Disney musical delivered £12.33m, for an awesome 10-day total of £39.9m. The Jungle Book had reached £21.7m at the same stage of its run last April.
While Beauty is falling faster than The Jungle Book did, the film still has the Easter holiday ahead of it, and a final total of £80m looks achievable. Such a sum would put the film in fifth place in the all-time UK box office rankings, behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Skyfall, Spectre and Avatar.
The flop: CHiPs
While The Lost City of Z hasn’t achieved box office glory with £270,000 from 282 cinemas, it is an arty film from a cerebral director (James Gray) and doesn’t boast an A-list lead – Brad Pitt, initially attached, departed in favour of Benedict Cumberbatch and finally Charlie Hunnam. CHiPs, on the other hand, was positioned for the commercial mainstream, so a debut of £206,000 from 300 sites looks pretty weak. It is arguable that its stars, Dax Shepard and Michael Peña, are not big names, but CHiPs was selling a comedy concept rather than a cast and was trading on the brand value of the TV show, which aired between 1977 and 1983.
Comparisons with other TV spinoff movies do not flatter CHiPs. 21 Jump Street began its run in the UK in 2012 with £1.56m. Starsky & Hutch kicked off with a surprisingly high £4.15m, including £1.41m in previews in 2004, when ticket prices were significantly lower than they are now. The Dukes of Hazzard (2005) began with £1.72m including £554,000 in previews.
The middling achiever: Life
Landing in sixth place, with £743,000 from 438 cinemas, sci-fi horror Life delivered the definition of a middling result. It did only half as well as Power Rangers (£1.57m debut), but a lot better than Lost City of Z and CHiPs. Considering the cast – notably Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds – and the accessible genre premise, the number is mediocre.
The slow burn: Moana
While Disney’s Beauty and the Beast roared out of the starting gate, it has been a slow jog for its animation division’s Moana, which finally passed £20m on its 17thweek of release. Moana disappointed when it began in November with just £2.21m, including previews of £33,000. It has now reached nine times that opening number. While £20m isn’t exceptional for an animated feature – Trolls, Sing and The Lego Batman Movie all cruised past it – there will be relief that it finally reached that milestone.
With Moonlight and Hidden Figures falling out of the Top 10, awards season is effectively over at UK cinemas. Moonlight’s distributor will be happy to see that the film reached £4m at the weekend – a bigger number than anyone would have guessed a few months ago. Hidden Figures did even better, and should crack £6m this week. Top performers among this year’s crop of best-picture Oscar nominees remain La La Land (£30.3m) and Lion (11.4m). These titles, plus Jackie, Hacksaw Ridge, Manchester By the Sea and T2 Trainspotting have provided a boon for indie cinemas this year, but it’s slim pickings now for these venues.
Takings overall fell 32% from the previous frame, and are 24% down on the equivalent weekend from 2016, when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Zootropolis arrived in cinemas. Given the disparity between the new releases at the weekend and the ones from a year ago, the exhibition sector overall will be relieved that box office is only 24% off for the session. For March overall, expect 2017 to show a solid rise on 2016, for admissions (the number of bums on seats) and box office totals.
Top 10 films, 24-26 March
1. Beauty and the Beast, £12,334,338 from 636 sites. Total: £39,884,575 (two weeks)
2. Power Rangers, £1,574,624 from 478 sites (new)
3. Get Out, £1,366,829 from 485 sites. Total: £4,864,838 (two weeks)
4. Kong: Skull Island, £1,132,269 from 507 sites. Total: £13,237,783 (three weeks)
5. Logan, £763,333 from 428 sites. Total: £21,911,729 (four weeks)
6. Life, £743,281 from 438 sites (new)
7. The Lost City of Z, £270,139 from 282 sites (new)
8. CHiPs, £205,933 from 300 sites (new)
9. Moulin Rouge!, £200,559 from one site. Total: £1,911,114 (six weeks)
10. Idomeneo – Met Opera, £186,423 from 167 sites (new)
Phillauri, £93,621 from 45 sites
Another Mother’s Son, £68,938 (including £20,034 previews) from 106 sites
The Secret Scripture, £43,377 (including £9,757 previews) from 79 sites (Ireland and Northern Ireland only)
Aquarius, £24,543 (including £13,896 previews) from 16 sites
Age of Shadows, £13,430 (including previews of £7,655) from 21 sites
All This Panic, £9,534 (including £7,346 previews) from 10 sites
Eyes of My Mother, £1,956 from seven sites
Baasha, £1,813 from six sites
• Thanks to comScore. All figures relate to takings in UK and Ireland cinemas.
Beauty and the Beast magic helps UK box office survive the spring sunshine – The Guardian (blog)