Kingsman: The Golden Circle spies an opportunity at the UK box office

The winner: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

The reviews may have been mixed, but producer-director-writer Matthew Vaughn once again demonstrates his savvy populist instinct. The darkly comic spy adventure opens in the UK with £6.2m, with Wednesday and Thursday previews taking that tally to a five-day £8.53m. This compares with a £3.56m debut for 2015’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, or £4.24m including previews.

Ignoring previews, The Golden Circle has opened bigger than a string of 2017’s aspiring summer blockbusters: Alien: Covenant, Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge, Wonder Woman, The Mummy, Transformers: The Last Knight and War for the Planet of the Apes. It also opened a whole lot better than the latest from Vaughn’s former film-making partner Guy Ritchie, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (£2.5m including previews).

Vaughn can now fairly claim to have the second-biggest spy franchise in the marketplace after James Bond – in the UK, at any rate. The last Mission: Impossible movie, Rogue Nation, began here in July 2015 with £5.35m including just over £1m in previews.

The runner-up: It

Dropping 53% in its third frame, the Stephen King adaptation It added another £2.85m at the weekend, taking the 17-day tally to £26.5m. That’s the highest ever gross for a horror film in the UK, unless you – perversely – count the supernatural Twilight franchise. It is the 11th-biggest hit of 2017 in the UK, behind Beauty and the Beast, Dunkirk, Despicable Me 3, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, La La Land, Fast & Furious 8, Sing, The Boss Baby and The Lego Batman Movie. It should overtake at least half of those titles by the end of its run. The film covers events in the first half of King’s book and a sequel, covering events occurring 27 years later, has been announced for September 2019.

The indie flop: Borg vs McEnroe

Arthouse distributor Curzon made a rare foray into multiplex territory with sports drama Borg vs McEnroe, which contrasts the two famous tennis stars as they clash at the 1980 Wimbledon men’s final. But the rollout into 145 cinemas may have been too ambitious, given an opening weekend gross of just £102,000, including negligible previews. Site average is a poor £691. At the time, more than 17 million people viewed the match on BBC TV, and similar numbers have watched Andy Murray’s Wimbledon finals in recent years, but those sports fans are not necessarily cinemagoers. Fox will be looking at Curzon’s release campaign to avoid any pitfalls for its tonally very different tennis true tale Battle of the Sexes, starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, out in November.

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