1917 Is New Number 1 – UK Box Office Report 17-19th Jan 2020

This article was written exclusively for The Film Magazine by Charlie Gardiner of Funny Old World.

Sam Mendes’ 1917 battles through the UK box office competition to earn a £7.3m opening.

2019 may have struggled to compete with 2018’s box office revenue with a drop of 2% from UK cinema’s totalling £1.277billion in 2018 and £1.257billion in 2019 resulting in a 0.5% drop in cinema attendance from 177 million to 176 million, but this hasn’t effected the healthy start we have seen in the first few weeks of the new decade.

Recommended for you: Box Office Report – 2019 Year in Review

Sam Mendes’ World War 1 thrilling drama, 1917, has taken the box office by storm with a total to date of £18.4m in the UK alone. George MacKay stars in this nail-biting drama as Lance Corporal Schofield who has been appointed an important mission by his superiors, a task that could result in devastation for his fellow servicemen should he not complete it.

With a track record of big openings, 1917 struggled to outshine both of Mendes’ Bond films – Skyfall grossed a whopping £20.2m back in 2012, and three years later Spectre competed with a strong taking of £20m.

Christopher Nolan is heading back to cinemas this summer with his highly anticipated new release, Tenet (17th July), whilst his previous release, Dunkirk, also a high budget/scale war film, opened with a huge £10m back in 2017.

Nominated for 10 Oscars and 9 BAFTAs, and likely to win at least a handful of them, 1917 will gain a huge push at the box office over the coming few weeks.

The Cinema Advertising Association have predicted 2020 may be a slower year for blockbuster films than the previous few due to the lack of franchise films lined up.

2019 saw the finale of two of the biggest cinema franchises (Avengers; Star Wars) while 2018 had 5 releases pass the $50 million threshold (Avengers: Infinity War, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Incredibles 2, Bohemian Rhapsody and Black Panther).

One film that is predicted to pass that threshold of $50m in 2020 is Daniel Craig’s final spin as 007 in James Bond: No Time To Die, released in the UK on 2nd April.

So far, 2020 has opened with a 25% increase in the box office compared to previous years thanks to the likes of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Little Women, Jojo Rabbit and of course 1917.

Weekend UK box office chart 17th-19th January:

1. 1917 (Entertainment One UK) – 2 – £6,190,049 (£18.4m)
2. Bad Boys For Life (Sony) – 1 – £3,781,233 (£3.8m)
3. Little Women (Sony) – 4 – £1,480,139 (£16.4m)
4. The Gentlemen (Entertainment Film Distributors) – 3 – £1,092,084 (£7.9m)
5. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony) – 6 – £1,064,594 (£32.5m)
6. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney) – 5 – £901,078 (£56.5m)
7. Bombshell (Lionsgate UK) – 1 – £742,085 (£742k)
8. Jojo Rabbit (Disney) – 3 – £656,736 (£5.5m)
9. Just Mercy (Warner Bros.) – 1 – £529,435 (£529k)
10. Frozen II (Disney) – 9 – £514,468 (£51.9m)

The final count for the top five films of 2019 may have come to an end but in a last minute race, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker pipped Frozen II to the post by overtaking it for 5th place in the very last week of the year. Frozen II ended up sitting comfortably in sixth place with an end of year total of £51.3 million.

The top 5 highest grossing films of 2019:

1. Avengers: Endgame (Disney) – 25th April 2019 – £88.7 million
2. The Lion King (Disney) – 19th July 2019 – £76 million
3. Toy Story 4 (Disney/Pixar) – 21 June 2019 – £66 million
4. Joker (Warner Bros.) – 4th October 2019 – £57.9 million
5. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney) – 19th December 2019 – £54.6 million

As we head into the last few weeks of the award season we still have plenty of choice in the cinema. This week has a great selection of films to see…

With a BIFA win and a BAFTA nomination under its belt, this Friday sees the cinema release of The Personal History of David Copperfield starring Dev Patel (Lion; Slumdog Millionnaire).

The new onscreen adaptation of the Shakespeare play of the same name is directed by Armando Iannucci (The Death of Stalin) and has a jam-packed cast including Hugh Laurie, Tilda Swinton and Peter Capaldi.

The Grudge is a reboot of the 2004 American film adaptation of the same name. Although not a direct remake, it takes place during the events of the original film so is sure to be popular with fans of its predecessor. Directed by Nicolas Pesce, and starring Tara Westood and Andrea Riseborough, The Grudge will be in cinemas from Friday 24th January.

Also coming to cinemas is The Turning, a supernatural horror starring Finn Wolfhard (‘Stranger Things’; It) and Mackenzie Davis (Terminator: Dark Fate; Blade Runner 2049). Set in the countryside of Maine, The Turning tells the story of Kate (Davis) who is hired to take care of two disturbed orphans after the death of their parents. She soon finds out that the children, and the house they live in, is not as it first seems.

Floria Sigismondi directs this modern adaptation of Henry James’ 1898 horror novella “The Turn of the Screw”, in cinemas this Friday.

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