UK Box Office

Jurassic World is UK’s eighth biggest film ever while Fantastic Four bombs.

The disappointment: Fantastic Four

In the 10 years since Fox presented the first of the two Tim Story-directedFantastic Four films, it’s fair to say that the value of the association with theMarvel brand has only increased. Fox’s X-Men franchise continues to flourish, Sony took just under $1.5bn worldwide with its two Amazing Spider-Man films, and Disney has proved with The Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man that Marvel success is not limited to the Avengers portfolio of characters. So, the logic went, a rebooted Fantastic Four, with Chronicle director Josh Trank at the helm, an appealing sounding cast led by Whiplash’s Miles Teller, plus the growing cachet of the Marvel brand, must surely add up to an audience-pleasing proposition. A brief glance at the UK box office Top 10 (see below) suggests the new Fantastic Four has done OK – after all, it’s sitting there in the top spot, with a gross of £2.69m. But that would be misleading.

Preview takings of £817,000 have been added in to that figure. Without them, Fantastic Four recorded a weekend total of £1.87m, only enough for third place, behind Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Inside Out. Nor do comparisons with the previous attempt at Fantastic Four flatter the new film. The first Story-directed effort kicked off with £3.13m plus £415,000 in previews in July 2005, when cinema ticket prices were 30% lower than they are today. It’s sequel Rise of the Silver Surfer began with £4.14m in June 2007.

A big difference this time around is the speed at which audience’s word travels on a film. In 2005, and even in 2007, Facebook was in its infancy. As it turns out, when word did start circulating, audiences didn’t hugely care for either of thoseFantastic Four films, and Rise of the Silver Surfer managed an uninspiring 2.99 times its opening weekend number in the UK with its lifetime total of £12.38m.

This time around, Fox faced a perfect storm of negative buzz, which intensified when Trank suggested in a tweet that he wasn’t happy with, and wasn’t responsible for, the film that was delivered to cinemas. Although that tweet was soon deleted, its expression represented one more negative cue. Fantastic Four currently enjoys a 4/10 rating from users of IMDb and a 27/100 score at MetaCritic. Social media platforms are now providing a corrective, with some users suggesting the film isn’t quite the anticipated disaster, and is entertaining for the younger end of the target audience.

Chart veteran 1: Jurassic World

Celebrating its ninth week in the Top 10, Jurassic World has now grossed £63.3m. The weekend saw it rise another place in the all time box office chart, overtaking The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring to nab eighth position. (Adjusted for inflation, it would be a whole other story.) Jurassic World now looks unlikely to ascend any further in the all-time chart, since seventh-placed Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has £66.1m. (The top six films of all time in the UK are Skyfall, Avatar, Titanic, Toy Story 3, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and Mamma Mia!)

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