The Dark Knight Rises broke box office records last weekend, taking £53.1 million to become the 13th biggest film ever released in the UK. That’s above The Dark Knight. And The Avengers. And blah blah blah. Before you start going off on another Nolan-gasm, something else has happened that is way more important: The Imposter, which snuck in at the end of the UK box office chart to take number 10.
Burt Layton’s fantastic documentary (released by Revolver and Picturehouses) had a great Bank Holiday in 49 sites. 49 sites. That’s nothing compared to The Dark Knight Rises 400 odd – a piddly 12 per cent of its total cinema count. But from those cinemas it took a total of £345,000. That’s £6,799 a screen. Billion dollars this, world record that, whatever. For a small arthouse release, that’s what mathematicians refer to as a MASSIVE F*CKTON OF MONEY.
Let's start off with this: I love Fox Searchlight. I really do. (500) Days of Summer. Sideways. The Tree of Life. Black Swan. Martha Marcy May Marlene. Adam. The Descendents. Over the years, their Sundance-snapping ways have given countless indie films well-deserved exposure in the UK.
So imagine my disappointment when I discovered that, hot on the heels of Another Earth’s release last year, Brit Marling's latest - Sound of My Voice - will be released in a whole two UK cinemas.
Ian Loring, of the always-impressive EatSleepLiveFilm, asked @Searchlight UK on Twitter what was going on. Their response: "Hi @ianloring [you should give him a follow on Twitter by the way]. The film will be LAUNCHING exclusively on August 3rd with Curzon Cinemas, playing at Curzon Soho and HMV Curzon Wimbledon." He promptly wrote this article about it.
Let's continue with this: I love Curzon. I really do. Wimbledon Soho and Wimbledon are both great sites. Indeed, the former has nothing less than the best (and comfiest) in-cinema cafe in the country. But you know what I also love? Curzon On-Demand.
Their streaming service, launched in May, lets you watch some of the latest theatrical releases at home for under £10. Yes, it's still mostly Artificial Eye releases, but now Curzon have got other distributors such as Revolver, Momentum, Soda Pictures and Picturehouse on board too.
Price-wise, that's great for film watchers. Selection-wise, it’s decent. And then there’s the convenience factor. Indeed, Curzon On-Demand is the only way I was able to see Markus Schleinzer’s Michael (Artificial Eye) earlier this year after missing several screenings near me.
But if I struggle to make it to a London cinema to see a film and I live in the ruddy city, what chance does anyone outside of the capital have if they want to catch Sound of My Voice?
Just two cinemas, Fox Searchlight? Even if they're nice cinemas, that's not enough.
Marvel's Avengers Assemble smashed box office records in America yesterday, taking $200 million in one weekend. That's the highest opening of any film ever ever ever.
With high ticket prices and 3D uplifts, it's no surprise that blockbusters are breaking records every year (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 threw down the Quidditch gauntlet last year with a $169m opening). So far, The Avengers has taken 440 odd million dollars worldwide, putting it well on course for breaching the $1 billion barrier broken by Avatar back in 2010 - and that's still nowhere near the all-time adjusted gross takings for Gone with the Wind: a Hulk-smashing $1,582,009,400.
As one of my favourite blokes off the internet put it last night:
A billion here. A few million there. A couple of Andy Carrolls on top. Let's put this into perspective. As I'm writing this, I have a little over £3,000 in my bank account. That's a lot of money.
So before you start typing the words "Avengers" and "box office records", read on to see what exactly $200m is worth. (Any numerical errors are a direct result of my brain melting after trying to grasp the concept of $200 million.)
You remember that record year for Norwegian cinema I was going on about last week? The one led by the phenomenal box office success of Headhunters? Well, the Nordic wave continued over here last weekend, with Headhunters taking £264,769 from 83 screens at the UK box office - a cracking average of £3,069 per screen.
As a result, Morten Tyldum's wonderful slice of Scandinavian noir is targeting another 22 cinemas across the country from tomorrow, including Birmingham's sexy Electric cinema and Cambridge's beautiful Arts Picturehouse.
Jo Nesbø’s Headhunters sees the flashy life of recruitment expert (and part-time art thief) Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) literally covered in crap as he runs for his life from a psychotic Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (taking time out from bonking his sister in Game of Thrones).
It's a superb thriller that manages to be gripping, tense and hilariously twisted - our Headhunters review is here - and with 105 cinemas under its belt, NOW YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE NOT TO SEE IT.
As of tomorrow morning, you can now find it in the following movie theatres:
Bridesmaids painted the town pink over the weekend, strolling down the aisle with £3.4m shoved up its dress.
That's a strong opening figure for the Judd Apatow comedy, which has deservedly received a massive amount of positive buzz thanks to talker preview screenings, critical praise and a big US box office haul.
It debuted in the States with $26m, which suggested a £2.6m opening here in the UK, so Universal will be pleased with £3.4m. Clearing the £3m mark at all is excellent for a comedy (ignoring its extensive previews, Paul took £3.2m over three days back in February) so Bridesmaids' UK debut is worth getting excited about. The fat one in the film probably pooed herself when she heard the news.
X-Men: First Class hit first place at the UK Box Office with an opening of £5.4m.
That sounds pretty groovy for a 60s-set mutant prequel, but it's actually the weakest of the franchise since the original X-Men back in 2000. Arriving without any audience awareness of the series, Bryan Singer's comic book movie opened on £4.8m - Fox would have been hoping for slightly more evolved figures by now.
With the other X-Men films taking between £6m and £7m on their debuts, Matthew Vaughn's excellent blockbuster is quite a way behind. Still, it has far more positive buzz than Brett Ratner's X-Men 3 or 2009's Wolverine outing, which may keep its powers strong enough to claw together a stronger total.
First Class almost took second place in the UK Top Ten thanks to The Hangover II. Even with a 15 certificate and a lot of backlash, Todd Phillips' sequel, which took just under £4m in its second weekend, has already passed the £20m barrier.
That's a horrendously high amount for a 2D comedy - in fact, it's earned more than three times the £7.7m The Hangover had totalled up over two weeks in 2009. Feel free to bash your head against a brick wall at any point in the next seven days.
The Hangover: Part II hung over the UK Box Office this weekend, with a headache-inducing total of £10.4m.
That's a scarily high amount for Todd Phillips' offensively unfunny sequel. It's triple the amount of the first film, which took £3.2m on its opening weekend. That's the kind of figure you normally expect from a comedy (Paul opened earlier this year with a very strong £5.5m including previews), so £10.4m will be making Warner Bros very happy. Everyone else, of course, will just be dismayed.
Not even Jack Sparrow could hold it off the UK Top Ten top spot. Pirates of the Caribbean 4, which was considered to be doing well last week, earned half The Hangover 2's amount at number two, pillaging its way to a hoard of £4.7m.
That's a drop of around 40%, which gives it a large running total (just under £20m) but leaves it quite a way behind the last few in the franchise - Pirates 2 had £26.7m after two weeks in cinemas. With 567 and 469 screens respectively, though, Pirates 4 and The Hangover 2 will be serious competitors against X-Men: First Class this weekend.
With all the blockbuster action and 15-rated comedy on offer, parents with younger children have little other choice than Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2. Which explains why Fox's sequel got almost £1.5m over the weekend - a great result given the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid debuted with £600k odd.
Disney will be looking to take family audiences away from X-Men and Thor with Jack Sparrow, but the only other half-term option is Rio, which has been around for way too long already. Greg Hefley hung around for 5 weeks last year to chalk up a total of £2.5m, so Wimpy Kid 2 will be expecting a nice healthy run - at least until Kung Fu Panda 2 bounces into multiplexes (the previews this week have had a very strong response).
The rest of the UK Top Ten remains largely unchanged, as Fast Five continues to race towards a cumulative gross of £20m. Attack the Block, meanwhile, dropped 60% down at number nine, and will inevitably lose quite a few screens to Marvel's mutants and Dreamworks' panda. Bare sad, innit, blud.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides sailed to the top of the UK Box Office this weekend, pillaging its way to a treasure hoard of £11.63m.
That's the biggest opening of the year so far, and also Disney's fourth biggest opening of all time. It's a fair bit behind At World's End's debut of £13.4m back in 2007, especially given the boost in 3D ticket revenue, but Disney will be pleased that Jack Sparrow still has some pirate gold in him after several (wrong) negative reviews. Yo ho and all that.
You can tell it's blockbuster season just by glancing at the rest of the UK Top Ten. Fast & Furious Five is still at full throttle in second place (continuing to beat its hairy rival Thor) but took just £587k. Marvel's superhero, meanwhile, hammered together a meagre £528k.
Neither are very big figures for such large films, but they're far from failing (a £17m running total for Fast Five is way ahead of the rest of the series). It's just that there's no room for them. Pirates 4 has commandeered 569 sites across the UK. That's more than The King's Speech at its peak of dominance. As a result, Disney's franchise is earning around 20 times the amount of its closest runner-up.
Thor thundered ahead at the UK Box Office this week, holding on the top spot after its £5m debut.
Marvel's superhero lost around 40% of last week's takings, but has hammered together a £9.5m running total, which will keep the makers of The Avengers happy for now.
Fast Five is right behind the God of Thunder with £1.6m stashed firmly in the boot. After three weeks on release, Vin Diesel's racer has accelerated past the £13.5m gross from the last Fast and Furious film, making it the fastest and most furious in the whole series. Bald men up and down the country will be sweating profusely with excitement.
Insidious, meanwhile, is in a strong third position, boasting a teeny 9% drop as people begin to spread the word about the Saw director's horror film. It's almost at the £4m mark in total, but expect this one to reach a fair bit higher than that.
All the three holdovers held back the weekend's new releases. Emerging at the head of the pack is Water for Elephants, the watery film about elephants and Robert Pattinson. Thanks to previews from Wednesday onwards, R-Patz beat Saoirse Ronan's Hanna to the UK Top Ten's fourth spot. But we all know she could take him in a proper fight.
Thor hammered its way to the top of the UK Box Office last weekend to take home £5.45m.
Marvel were hoping that the Norse god of thunder would strike hard in the UK, given that Thor's the cornerstone for all upcoming Avengers releases.
To avoid any threat of the Royal Wedding distracting cinema-goers, they promptly stuck three days of previews on the front of the film, picking up £2.3m from Monday, Wednesday and Thursday combined. Include the bank holiday Monday on the other side of the weekend and Thor smashes clean past the £6m mark.
It's a convincing show from Kenneth Branagh's superhero, one that matches the results from the less hirsute Fast and Furious Five on the weekend before. It's no surprise, then, that the Vin Diesel car flick is still speeding along in second place.
With a drop of less than 40%, Fast Five has a current total of £11m odd, which almost equals the £13.5m final gross from the fourth Fast and Furious film in 2009. No wonder Justin Lin is gearing up for a sixth.