UK Box Office

The latest Marvel hero’s £4m opening would trigger celebrations by any other film, but the weekend broke one record – for violinist André Rieu’s live concert.


The winner: Ant-Man

Disney and Marvel have already scored a robust £48.3m this summer with Avengers: Age of Ultron. If that franchise film represented a safe bet, the partners’ other offering, Ant-Man, always felt more like a roll of the dice. The premise – an insect-sized superhero – doesn’t suggest an equivalently broad appeal, and then there was the issue of original director (and co-writer) Edgar Wright departing the project close to shooting. Would Marvel fans and cinema audiences in general line up for the film?

The opening number, £4.01m, compares unfavourably with the debut of Guardians of the Galaxy last summer. That Marvel title kicked off with just under £5m, plus £1.37m in previews, for an opening tally of £6.36m. Among the 12 Marvel feature films where head creative honcho Kevin Feige carries a full producer credit, only 2008’s The Incredible Hulk (debut of £3.25m including £533,000 in previews) and 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger (£2.98m) began with smaller numbers. You might also include 2011’s Thor in that list, since its £5.45m opening included £2.34m in previews. Viewed away from the context of Marvel, Ant-Man’s £4.01m debut is actually pretty decent. Looking at some of the other blockbusters this summer, it’s very comparable with Mad Max: Fury Road, which began with £4.54m including £639,000 in previews back in May. And it’s ahead of Terminator Genisys, which kicked off with £3.79m including £716,000 in previews.

The sustained runs: Jurassic World and Minions

Jurassic World, now with cumulative box-office of £59.5m (the 10th-biggest gross ever in the UK), has just delivered a sixth weekend with more than £1m in takings. The last film to do so was Paddington, which enjoyed a very sustained run into Christmas 2014 and beyond. Minions, in its fourth weekend of play, managed a robust £2.70m. That’s actually ahead of the fourth-frame takings of Jurassic World, and is the biggest for a fourth session since The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, which was the top-grossing release of 2014. Minions now stands at £32.3m. With kids now on school holiday, the film should continue to perform solidly.

The documentary hit: Amy

Achieving the gentlest decline in the Top 10 is Asif Kapadia’s Amy Winehousedocumentary Amy, with a drop of 24%. Helping the sustain in box-office is the film’s modest expansion from 214 cinemas to 254. With £2.06m in takings so far, Amy is now the sixth-biggest documentary hit in the UK, excluding concert films. Amy should overtake fifth-placed Touching the Void (£2.64m) by the end of its run, and it has a shot at matching Kapadia’s own Senna, which reached £3.17m, and is in fourth place in the UK all-time chart.

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