The UK box office remained strong this weekend, rounding off a hugely lucrative month for the industry in November and charting an 18% increase on the equivalent weekend from 2016. Somewhat remarkably, this late November weekend is also the first in which every movie in the top 5 has surpassed the £1million mark since the weekend of August 4-6th 2017, when Dunkirk, The Emoji Movie, Valerian, Despicable Me 3 and Girls Trip stumbled across the mark with a combined gross some £3.5million down on the current chart toppers’ combined £14.9million. In a weekend filled with surprises, both in the top 5 and the top 15, the biggest story is undoubtedly the re-emergence of Disney’s 3 years old modern-day animated classic Frozen. Here it is, propping up the top 5:
Aided heavily by the release of a new Disney animated short about Frozen favourite Olaf, the re-release of Frozen has surpassed £1million this week, placing its overall earnings, across its 3 year stint, at around £43million. While it does look set to be for only one week, its presence in the chart is indicative of the cult phenomenon the film has become and may, along with the success of Paddington 2, indicate a desire from audiences to experience more wholesome, family fun during the holiday period. It seems, then, that Disney’s somewhat controversial choice to delay the release of Coco – a record setting film in Mexico and the winner of this past weekend’s Thanksgiving weekend box office in the United States – which has been paired with the Frozen short in those regions, may have been a good one, with the reemergence of Frozen likely to be act 1 in a 2 act money-making story from Disney’s animated realm.
Debuting at the top of the chart and placing itself in contention for a strong run in the UK given the coming weeks’ lack of big releases is Daddy’s Home 2, which seems to have capitalised on the coming Christmas fever and some good will from fans of the original to sledge its way to a £4,919,051 opening, some £3.3million higher than the original’s debut in 2015.
The movie, which stars a slew of household names including stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg was, however, pushed heavily by previews that equated to just over half of its weekend earnings and ultimately gave the film a 5-day opening total as opposed to a traditional 3-day (Friday to Sunday) total. If we were to take Daddy’s Home 2 on the basis that it only ran Friday to Sunday, the film would be sitting at no. 3 in the chart behind Paddington 2 and Justice League at £2.3million.
As regards the hugely controversial Justice League, there was an expectation that the picture would fall below Paddington 2 for this past weekend and that has come to pass. The superhero franchise film, with the financial mite of Warner Bros behind it, seems to have suffered from a mix of bad timing – being released between Thor: Ragnarok (still in cinemas) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (set for cinemas December 14th) – as well as general audience dismay at the direction of the universe, making for a poor financial return that may see the production actually lose money once outside factors, including fees to advertise the film, are factored in. The picture made £2,990,473 at the UK box office this weekend, bumping its total up to £12,917,287 ($17,251,036) in the region so far, but with an estimated total cost of $480million to cover, and subsidiaries for multiple parties expected to be paid, seeing Justice League teeter at the $480million mark as regards worldwide takings and therefore covering only its cost to this date, means that this superhero team-up may be the first major studio superhero failure since Green Lantern in 2011.
In stark contrast, the Studiocanal distributed British independent Paddington 2 has been outperforming every expectation thus far, holding onto its audiences with a bear-like grip [pun intended] throughout its 3 week run, hitting £4,545,218 in weekend no.3, a figure higher than many top earning superhero movies tend to earn in weekend no. 2 of their runs – Thor: Ragnarok was £4.5million for its 2nd week and£3.1million for its 3rd week, for example, and that picture looks set to be a top 5 film of the year once all is said and done. Somewhat incredibly, Paddington 2 is all but guaranteed to out-gross Justice League and may, given the current trends towards both films, actually reach double the box office takings than its much more expensive competition. Surely it too cannot penetrate the top 5 for the year? Well, it’s £8million off, but we do have some quiet weeks ahead…
Here are the actuals for the entire top 15:
- Daddy’s Home 2 – weeks on release: 1 – weekend: £4,919,051 – total: £4,919,051
- Paddington 2 – 3 – £4,545,218 – £22,990,836
- Justice League – 2 – £2,990,473 – £12,917,287
- Murder on the Orient Express – 4 – £1,373,756 – £20,442,641
- Frozen – 156 – £1,115,689 – £42,996,289
- Thor: Ragnarok – 5 – £596,034 – £29,306,199
- Battle of the Sexes – 1 – £552,521 – £552,521
- A Bad Moms Christmas – 4 – £398,450 – £6,756,130
- Listy do M. 3 – 1 – £397,737 – £397,737
- Suburbicon – 1 – £231,412 – £231,412
- The Star – 1 – £204,497 – £204,497
- Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool – 2 – £108,411 – £585,204
- The Death of Stalin – 6 – £74,659 – £4,736,799
- The Florida Project – 3 – £64,196 – £605,735
- Blade Runner 2049 – 8 – £51,451 – £18,918,361
Debuting at number 9, Listy do M. 3 is significant as it seems to have further established the power of the Polish-speaking communities in the United Kingdom as regards the current box office landscape.
Following in the footsteps of the unbridled success of Polish-produced Botoks in mid-October, which made £792,957 in its opening weekend and even broke into the chart’s top 5, the third instalment of the country’s star-studded Christmas film series Listy do M has outperformed George Clooney’s Suburbicon – starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore – which debuted some £146,000 lower than the Polish language film, and seems to have solidified the picture’s success. Listy do M, much like Botoks, will therefore likely be considered as an important release for Polish language cinema in the UK moving forward as it could prove to be one of the catalysts for an influx of distributors to the country, each investing in the film industry and looking to sell the products to the UK market.
The seasonal Polish film was only the 2nd highest debuting picture of the weekend however, with the star-studded Battle of the Sexes hitting £552,521 and sitting in 7th. The film, which features 2017 Oscar winner Emma Stone and comedy powerhouse Steve Carell in the lead roles, perhaps suffered from being too much of an American tale to truly translate. The true story upon which the film is based was reportedly big news in the country, and has become something of a cult phenomenon, whereas the knowledge and understanding of the event in the UK is far from being at the same level, and clearly this was too much of an obstacle for even A-List stars to overcome with wider audiences – this is a problem that may also face I, Tonya, the tale of disgraced US skating champion Tonya Harding that is set to star Margot Robbie. With a debut weekend of over £500,000 and a 2nd weekend likely to remain relatively strong courtesy of a lack of major competition, expect Battle of the Sexes to surpass £1million by the end of next weekend; a tidy amount for a relatively small film that likely didn’t expect to perform in the region anyway.
And finally, Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool dropped off as it was outlined to do in last week’s chart breakdown, earning £108,411 over the weekend to take its total to £585,204. There is a December release date for the film in the US, and it may have traction given that it’s a true story about a beloved American star, but the likelihood of the Annette Bening and Jamie Bell starring picture turning a profit seems more and more bleak by the week.
So that about does it for this week’s box office breakdown. Next week we’ll likely welcome Wonder to the chart, though it will be interesting to see whether the Julia Roberts starring movie can out-perform Paddington 2. We’ll be back next Wednesday with a full box office report, but to gain access to the top 5 before anyone else, make sure to subscribe to us on YouTube. You can also stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features we have to offer by bookmarking our home page, following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.