UK Box Office Report September 29th-October 1st 2017

After a great September for the UK box office, a month that saw two films – IT and Kingsman: The Golden Circle surpass every other September film in recent years, things have slowed down for the transition into October as the national cinema industry awaits the arrival of $185million sci-fi powerhouse Blade Runner 2049 (rel: 6th October). This has created a gap in the market for smaller movies like Goodbye Christopher Robin to debut as high as the top 5, with Victoria & Abdul maintaining pace with September’s two powerhouses as the 3rd place movie for the 3rd week in a row. Here are the top 5 movies at the UK box office this week:

Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of this week’s top 5 is the staggeringly different performances of Goodbye Christopher Robin and Flatliners, with Robin making £781,110 over the weekend and Flatliners stumbling to £486,720, only 62% of its much more niche and independently produced counterpart. The latter has, in fact, been accepted somewhat as a box office bomb for Sony/Columbia having debuted to a worldwide total of around $10million, only slightly over half of its $19million budget, with the potential of ticket sales remaining steady being slim to none courtesy of woeful reviews that have the movie on a 2% Rotten Tomatoes score and an average of 3.6 out of 10 rating.

It does seem, however, that Sony/Columbia had predicted that the film would be a critical failure, as evidenced by their refusal to show the film to critics – usually a sure sign that a studio doesn’t want to get bad press and effectively kill their film on arrival. Yet, with the director of the comparatively popular Source Code at the helm, and with the star power of Ellen Page (Juno – 2007; Inception – 2010), Rogue One star Diego Luna, a returning Kiefer Sutherland and the almost cult-like popularity of the intellectual property (the ‘Flatliners’ name), expectations regarding the financial viability of this movie must have been higher for the studio originally, especially given the material’s links to the horror genre and how close we are to Halloween. It is in this respect that Warner Bros. may be able to capitalise with IT, as the supremely popular horror movie – which is at around £29.5million domestically and has surpassed $500million (£377million) worldwide – could receive a fresh push for the Halloween market given the way its competition seems to have fallen by the wayside over the course of the past few weeks. If the Halloween market brings a bump to overall box office figures, as is entirely possible in the current landscape, IT will break the 2017 worldwide box office top 10 by the end of its run. Notably, Pennywise and crew are only half a million pounds away from displacing Marvel juggernaut Spider-Man: Homecoming from the top 5 UK releases of the year, an accomplishment that the film will attain by the end of next weekend; quite the astonishing feat considering IT was made for a relatively small $35million and Homecoming cost a whopping $175million.

In contrast to Flatliner’s disappointing performance, Goodbye Christopher Robin actually produced a very good opening weekend number for an independent British film, reaching £781,110. The movie, partly funded by British film’s most recognisable governmental body the British Film Institute, was a low concept, low budget project that looked to capitalise on a nostalgia to A.A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh” stories and the ever-increasing popularity of its two leads – Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) star Domhnall Gleeson and Suicide Squad (2016) star Margot Robbie. This success juxtaposes the financial failure of British independent film God’s Own Country – as outlined in this article from a few weeks ago – offering a far more positive outlook for smaller, British financed projects.

Similarly, Victoria & Abdul, a Working Title and BBC Films British funded film, continues its admirable performance, reaching its 3rd week at number 3 on the chart and only just dropping below the £1million mark to £943,300, taking its total to £7million, a storming success. Crucially, the movie has also been a hit abroad, with the film doing similarly high numbers in Australia (around £4million) and even reaching an audience in the United States, earning around £1million.

Here are the top 15 actuals:

  1. Kingsman: The Golden Circle – weeks on release: 2 – weekend: £4,187,105 – total: £15,623,613
  2. IT – 4 – £1,742,629 – £29,444,212
  3. Victoria & Abdul – 3 – £943,300 – £7,022,063
  4. Goodbye Christopher Robin – 1 – £781,110 – £781,110
  5. Flatliners – 1 – £486,720 – £486,720
  6. Home Again – 1 – £484,124 – £484,124
  7. The EmojiMovie: Express Yourself – 9 – £383,166 – £14,454,556
  8. The Jungle Bunch – 3 – £299,669 – £1,076,243
  9. Despicable Me 3 – 14 – £233,506 – £46,967,000
  10. Mother! – 3 – £196,358 – £2,106,554
  11. Judwaa 2 – 1 – £178,813 – £178,813
  12. Dunkirk – 11 – £147,268 – £56,354,757
  13. Maze – 2 – £134,482 – £348,330
  14. American Assassin – 3 – £131,960 – £1,704,584
  15. American Made – 6 – £100,411 – £5,539,096

Reese Witherspoon’s latest film Home Again seems to have been unable to find a substantial audience, failing to make the top 5 despite the lead actress’s star power, while Bollywood movie Judwaa 2 marks the only other debut in the top 15. Elsewhere on the list, Dunkirk has dropped out of the top 10 for the first time since its debut nearly 12 weeks ago, while Despicable Me 3 continues its remarkable run in the top 10, stretching it to 14 weeks. Interestingly, Mother! the subject of speculation regarding its potential to be a financial failure a few weeks ago – has spun its 3rd week in the top 10 to amass a £2.1million overall return, a substantial amount for a film of its type. This figure has assisted in dragging Aronofsky’s controversial film across the finish line financially, earning $35million from a $30million budget at the worldwide box office thus far.

Next week will likely see Kingsman and IT be knocked from their perch courtesy of Blade Runner 2049, with Brie Larson starring The Glass Castle and the new Kate Winslet/Idris Elba film The Mountain Between Us each looking to earn spots in the top 5, too. As always, you’ll be able to gain first access to our top 5 chart video (posted every Tuesday) if you subscribe to us on YouTube, and please don’t hesitate to leave comments below.

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