Stephen King’s It scares off competition at UK box office

The winner: It

With £22.2m grossed from just 10 days of cinema play, Stephen King adaptation It is already well on the way to becoming the biggest horror movie of all time at the UK box office. Second-frame takings of £6.07m showed a fall of 38% from the opening session – a remarkably low rate of decline for a horror picture.

In comparison, the first three Paranormal Activity films were all in the £10-11m space, as were the two Conjuring movies. The Blair Witch Project reached £15.1m, albeit at a time, in 1999, when cinema tickets were notably cheaper than they are today. Most horror films do not reach £10m at the UK box office.

I Am Legend (2007), starring Will Smith, is the currently the biggest horror film of all time at UK cinemas, with £25.9m (unless you count the Twilight franchise, which is really a vampire romance with some action thrown in).

It’s been a rocky ride for King at the movies this year. The expensively produced The Dark Tower is virtually out for the count with £2.75m in the UK, although better luck in markets such as Russia push it’s global tally to $110m. It is currently at $372m worldwide and will surge much higher over the next few weeks.

The runner-up: Victoria and Abdul

While the dog days of the summer season didn’t offer anything very commercially viable to regional independent cinemas, salvation has finally arrived in the reliably impish form of Judi Dench. Frankly, many cinema managers had been counting the days until the release of Victoria and Abdul.

The film has begun with a decent £1.85m from 605 cinemas, including negligible previews of £9,000. Mrs Brown, Dench’s other picture about Queen Victoria, reached £4.1m in 1997. Victoria and Abdul director Stephen Frears’ last effort Florence Foster Jenkins began in May 2016 with a disappointing £713,000 (including £130,000 in previews), on its way to a total of £3.2m.

The disappointment: Mother!

With reviews scored by MetaCritic in a range from 100 (LA Times, Guardian, Telegraph) to 0 (New York Observer), and user ratings following a similar pattern, Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! is the very definition of divisive. And, Black Swan(£16.5m in UK) aside, the director has hardly been synonymous with major box office success. But, given the buzz on Mother! and a cast led by Jennifer Lawrence, distributor Paramount must surely be disappointed with a UK opening of £832,000 from 468 cinemas. One theory is that the commercially resilient It has sucked away the more mainstream-skewing portion of Mother!’s audience.

The survivor: The Emoji Movie

Critics queued up to attack it, and its creative pedigree didn’t offer audiences the reassurance of a Disney, Pixar, Illumination, DreamWorks or Blue Sky, but Sony Pictures Animation’s The Emoji Movie remains in the UK top five after seven weeks on release, with weekend takings dipping from the previous frame by the smallest margin of any film in the top 10. Cumulative gross is now a healthy £13.65m – a nice outcome given the title’s £1.78m three-day opening number.

Newly released animation The Jungle Bunch arrived with a rather dismal gross of £375,000 from 507 cinemas – that’s less than The Emoji Movie took in its seventh session. Despicable Me 3, grossing £255,000 at the weekend, is still rather remarkably in the top 10 in its 12th week of release, and has now reached £46.5m. It needs to keep chugging a while longer if it is to catch Despicable Me 2(£47.4m) and Minions (£47.6m).