UK Box Office

Inside Out and Ant-Man deliver an emotional one-two for Disney, as UK filmgoers – big and small – pour into cinemas to escape the rain.


The winner 1: Disney

On only three occasions this year has a studio occupied the top two spots in the UK box-office chart. Universal managed it in June, and again earlier this month. Now it’s Disney’s turn, with Inside Out and Ant-Man delivering a one-two for the studio. Both hits are the result of strategic acquisitions for the deep-pocketed entertainment giant: Pixar in 2006 and Marvel Entertainment in 2009.

With £7.34m without the benefit of previews, Inside Out has given Disney-Pixar one of its best UK openings, especially for a non-sequel. Brave, the last non-sequel, debuted in Scotland first, but its first full weekend of UK play grossed £2.60m plus £2.67m in previews. Before that, Up set off with £6.41m and no previews. Ratatouille, WALL-E and Cars all opened smaller than Up. The Incredibles debuted at a single cinema in November 2004, and then recorded £6.26m plus £3.49m in previews for its first weekend of wide play. A year earlier, Finding Nemo grossed £7.38m in its first weekend of wide play – slightly bigger than the Inside Out debut number, and with significantly lower ticket prices.

According to Disney, the company’s exit polls show a significant adult skew for the Inside Out audience, suggesting that the film can play strongly midweek as well as at weekends, and in showtimes that include the late evening slot – traditionally a challenge for family films. Ant-Man fell a relatively slim 37% in its second session, although it’s worth bearing in mind that rain on Friday and Sunday proved a boon to cinemagoing overall. Jurassic World fell only 12% from the previous frame, for example, and Minions 16%. Over the whole seven days, Ant-Man added a robust £5.61m, for a 10-day tally of £9.62m.

The impact of rain can be seen in daily fluctuations of individual films’ grosses. Inside Out, for example was strongest on Friday and Sunday, and weaker on Saturday, when sun returned to much of the UK. In general, films performed best of all on Sunday. Usually, Saturday is the strongest day for cinemagoing in the UK.

The winner 2: Secret Cinema

Once again, Secret Cinema’s The Empire Strikes Back recorded its best-ever weekend figure, although only very marginally up on the prior frame, which was the previous record holder. Over the whole week, Secret Cinema added £410,000, of which £305,000 was achieved over the weekend period. During the summer holiday period, the challenge for the brand is to push the grosses on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday closer to weekend levels. (Secret Cinema isn’t open on Monday.) Based on performance so far, The Empire Strikes Back is headed for a £6.5m gross, a very handy addition to the film’s existing UK tally of £9.0m.

The winner 3: Amy

Despite dropping out of the top 10 chart (it’s in 11th place) and recording a fall in box-office of 24%, Asif Kapadia’s Amy proved another of the weekend’s success stories. The film shed 43% of its cinemas, meaning that its screen average went up by a healthy 33%. The Sunday performance was particularly strong. Among the film’s top 20 sites for the weekend, only four showed declines in box-office compared to the previous frame, and many are positively surging. Including Monday takings, Amy has now overtaken Touching the Void (£2.64m) to become the fifth highest-grossing non-concert documentary in the UK, behind Fahrenheit 9/11, Deep Sea 3D, March of the Penguins and Kapadia’s own Senna. With little competition currently on offer in the non-blockbuster/indie space, Amy looks set to extend its strong run for at least another week.

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