The winner: The Lego Ninjago Movie
Opening in the UK with £3.64m, The Lego Ninjago Movie tops the box-office chart, elbowing aside Blade Runner 2049. It’s the second Lego-themed chart-topper this year, following The Lego Batman Movie in February. It’s also the fifth animated chart-topper, following Sing, The Lego Batman Movie, The Boss Babyand Despicable Me 3.
Dig a little deeper, and the picture for The Lego Ninjago Movie looks less rosy. The £3.64m debut includes £1.55m from previews on the previous Saturday and Sunday. Without them, its weekend number falls to a so-so £2.09m. The Lego Batman Movie began with £7.91m including £2.45m in previews.
The real winner: Blade Runner 2049
Going by box office actually earned over the weekend period, Blade Runner 2049 deserves the top spot, given its £3.10m total. That’s a 41% decline on its opening number: not bad for a sci-fi sequel. Its total after 11 days is £12.18m, which already makes it Ryan Gosling’s second biggest hit, after La La Land (£30.4m lifetime). Gosling is likely to end 2017 with £50m UK box office for the year – more than all his previous films combined.
The Polish hit: Botoks
Phoenix Productions, distributor of commercial Polish-language films to the UK’s large Polish population, has reached a new high with Botoks, from Patryk Vega, director of the hit Pitbull franchise. Botoks, an 18-certificate drama about a group of women working in a shady hospital, opened with a stonking £793,000 from 217 cinemas – the biggest UK debut for a Polish-language film. It’s also the biggest UK opening of any foreign-language film this year, ahead of notable Bollywood titles Raees (£766,000 including £215,000 previews) and Baahubali: The Conclusion (£455,000 debut from Hindi, Tamil, Malayam and Telugu versions combined).
Botoks’ opening is the biggest for a foreign language film since Salman Khan’s Sultan in July 2016, although that film’s £1.05m was inflated by £445,000 in previews. If previews are excluded, Botoks has delivered the best figure since Dhoom 3, which opened with £884,000 in December 2013.
The disappointment: The Snowman
The Snowman was one of the most anticipated films of the year – adapted from the Jo Nesbø bestseller, directed by Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’s Tomas Alfredson, and starring Michael Fassbender. So its debut of £1.38m from 531 cinemas is a little lacklustre, but it’s hardly a flop.
On the other hand, recent box office history makes that figure seem more disappointing. The month of October has seen the release of crime-novel adaptations The Girl on the Train (2016) and Gone Girl (2014). Those films debuted respectively with £6.96m including £1.78m previews and £4.11m including £517,000 previews – both way ahead of The Snowman.
The Snowman is Fassbender’s sixth film in the past 12 months, following The Light Between Oceans (November), Assassin’s Creed (January), Trespass Against Us (March), Alien: Covenant (May) and Terrence Malick’s Song to Song (July). None have exactly burnished the brand of the acclaimed actor. Next year he stars in X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
The indie hit: The Party
Landing just inside the Top 10 with £235,000 from 65 screens (including £14,000 previews) is Sally Potter ensemble comedy The Party. Site average for the black-and-white title, whose cast includes Kristin Scott Thomas, Timothy Spall, Cillian Murphy, Patricia Clarkson and Emily Mortimer, is a healthy £3,397. Potter’s movies over the past two decades – Ginger & Rosa, Rage, Yes, The Man Who Cried, The Tango Lesson – have ranged from commercially modest to negligible. Her only hit was 1993’s Orlando, starring Tilda Swinton, which reached £1.52m.
Rival arthouse title Loving Vincent landed one place above The Party, but its £274,000 debut is boosted by £174,000 in previews, overwhelmingly from the relay of its London film festival premiere, beamed live from the National Gallery.Read More…