Jennifer Lawrence Bankable? UK Box Office Chart 2nd-4th March 2018

One of the world’s most lucrative film stars entered the UK box office chart this past weekend as Jennifer Lawrence and Red Sparrow made their debut at number 2, notching just over £1.8million. Here is this week’s top 5 chart video:

The total accumulation of the weekend for Red Sparrow was actualy £1,843,124, less than half of Black Panther‘s third weekend total. The movie, which cost around $70million to make, debuted to less than $17million in the US over the weekend, and even after a $24million boost by international markets only managed to accumulate $41million over the three day period, a debut that will be judged as at least slightly under expectations for the seductive spy thriller. Jennifer Lawrence, whose career shot into the spotlight as she opened the Hunger Games series to huge numbers across the franchise’s four instalments, is currently undergoing a softer spell as a trusted, bankable star. Here are the opening weekends (internationally) of her previous non-franchise films:

  • Red Sparrow – Mar 2018 – $41million (budget: $70million)
  • Mother! – Sept 2017 – $12.5million (budget: $30million)
  • Passengers – Dec 2016 – $61.5million (budget: $25million)
  • Joy – Dec 2015 – $19.5million ($60million)

Though the above chart is by no means entirely damaging to Lawrence’s star appeal which is still considered strong in franchise’s like X-Men, it does raise a question as regards a studio’s ability to sell a movie based off her star power alone in the same way that stars like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson are often trusted to do. Of the above listed films (the entirety of Lawrence’s non-franchise back catalogue from the past few years) Passengers was the only picture able to make its money back in its opening weekend, though even that figure is skewed by the star power of co-star Chris Pratt and a strong (yet much later) debut weekend in China that boosted the gross by close to $20million. In the US, Passengers debuted to just $14.9million, less than a third of its budget, making it four franchise-free releases in a row in which Lawrence has been proven unable to open a film to profitability in the region. This is significant as regards Lawrence’s future as a leading power in mainstream box office hits as a film’s overall performance is usually judged on its opening weekend, with the total gross of any film being reliant upon opening weekend figures to justify the picture’s budget costs. Bear in mind, any film of any budget can have as much as $50million spent on worldwide promotional material and distribution, adding to the importance of the opening weekend.

The performance of Red Sparrow or, indeed, the other films Lawrence has opened, isn’t bound to effect the leading actress’s job offers just yet, but it is possible that a few more underwhelming openings could make her less bankable for studios in the future, ending her tenure as a star who can get a film made based entirely upon her own involvement.

Elsewhere in the top 5, Black Panther stayed clear of the chasing pack at the top of the chart, accumulating a further £3,736,954 to send it to £35,362,230 over the course of its 17 days of release. To put this in perspective, the current accumulation of just over £35million means that Black Panther has now made more money than all but 7 films released in the entirety of 2017, a stat that solidifies the fact it has now grossed more in its short run than the likes of Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Logan and Wonder Woman did during their entire theatrical runs in the region.

Internationally, the film looks to be doing just as well, sitting on $900million with a release in China yet to come. This makes Black Panther the 5th highest grossing Marvel movie of all time already. New projections have it hitting close to $1.2billion when its theatrical run comes to an end, taking it beyond Captain America: Civil War and perhaps even Iron Man 2 to sit at number 3 in the studio’s list of all-time releases. As of today, March 7th, Black Panther is the number 2 Marvel Studios movie of all time in North America, so the sky truly is the limit as regards its box office potential across the next few months.

Our final bit of analysis as regards the top 5 is the debut of Game Night, a US comedy from the screenwriters of Spider-Man: Homecoming which has been met with largely positive reviews for a film of its type. The movie, starring Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams and a host of recognisable faces, was a mid-budget range movie having taken $37million to make, and only managed £1,094,478 here in the UK and $17million in North America across its opening weekend. Even so, the film has since pushed to $50million worldwide and, given its strong word of mouth, may be a film which stays in contention for the top 5 in charts worldwide over the coming weeks, giving us the first certified comedy-genre hit of 2018.

Here are the top 15 films at the box office this past weekend:

  1. Black Panther – weeks on release: 3 – weekend: £3,736,954 – total: £35,362,230
  2. Red Sparrow – 1 – £1,843,124 – £1,843,124
  3. The Greatest Showman – 10 – £1,239,069 – £35,265,331
  4. Game Night – 1 – £1,094,478 – £1,094,478
  5. Lady Bird – 2 – £926,935 – £2,623,540
  6. Kobiety Mafii – 1 – £570,540 – £570,540
  7. Coco – 7 – £556,898 – £17,264,765
  8. I, Tonya – 2 – £547,455 – £2,011,528
  9. Finding Your Feet – 2 – £465,621 – £2,127,798
  10. The Shape of Water – 3 – £418,969 – £5,279,015
  11. Early Man – 6 – £409,402 – £10,082,573
  12. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – 8 – £403,099 – £13,130,280
  13. Fifty Shades Freed – 4 – £346,818 – £17,012,631
  14. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – 11 – £169,812 – £37,921,984
  15. Darkest Hour – 8 – £162,077 – £23,166,906

Elsewhere in the chart, the biggest news came in at number 6 as Polish production Kobiety Mafii earned close to £1million to be the latest in a spate of Polish films to greatly impact the UK box office chart. Last year, this very report referenced the importance of the Polish-speaking British public as regards foreign-language imports, with a duo of high profile Polish releases earning several million pounds during their time in cinemas. Kobiety Mafii is set to be the latest of these, giving further credence to our previous thoughts that there is a great deal yet to come from this un-mined portion of the audience. Will we see British distributors seek Polish films for release in the same way they have brought Bollywood films to UK cinemas over the years? Only time will tell, but it seems like the logical course of action right now given the relatively ginormous returns.

That about rounds up this week’s UK Box Office Report, but make sure to bookmark our homepage to make sure you catch our report next week where we’ll have a full Oscars release roundup, ranking each of the Best Picture nominees by total gross here in the UK. In the meantime, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for first access to the UK Box Office Chart Top 5 every Tuesday, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

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