UK Box Office

With Spectre invading cinemas, UK distributors proved predictably cautious at the weekend, not wishing to risk much in the way of new releases. Consequently, Hotel Transylvania 2 had no trouble holding on to the top spot, and has grossed £9.40m so far. With kids on holiday this week for October half-term, takings should be steady every day, and the animated sequel looks headed for mid-teens millions; the original Hotel Transylvania reached £8.30m over the course of its lifetime. In second place, The Martian has now cracked £20m. Ridley Scott’s film should be one of the big losers to Spectre, since it is competing for a similar audience. With what has evidently been good word-of-mouth, a long tail might extend its life once Spectre fever dies down.

With an exceptionally strong hold – down just 13% from the previous weekend –Suffragette continues to perform well, and has reached £5.81m after 14 days. The film that stars Carey Mulligan was the No 1 title on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday last week, and is doing exceptional weekday business, when older and female audiences are strong. Far From the Madding Crowd, also starring Mulligan, managed £6.21m over the course of its entire run.

Suffragette’s robust matinee business may be squeezed this week by the pincer movement of Spectre and the family films playing to a half-term audience (Hotel Transylvania 2, Pan), but should rebound when the kids are back at school next week. Spectre is playing this week in 647 cinemas – the widest ever release for a film in the UK and Ireland. Of course, the screen count will be far, far higher than that, with multiplexes offering audiences an enormous choice of start times (43 shows per day at a Vue in Birmingham, for example) by programming the film in multiple screens.

The new arrivals

Going strictly by weekend takings, Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension 3D landed in fifth place. However, thanks to previews on Wednesday and Thursday, it nudges up to third in the chart. The film took a decent £1.12m, or £1.47m including previews. The last Paranormal Activity film, The Marked Ones, kicked off in January 2014 with £1.58m including previews of £571,000. This new one actually did better over the three-day weekend period. The Last Witch Hunter, starring Vin Diesel, managed sixth place on the weekend, with £974,000. Previews on Wednesday and Thursday take the tally to £1.24m, pushing it ahead of Pan for fifth place.

The encores: Benedict Cumberbatch and Ed Sheeran

With the live feed of Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet selling out in most cinemas on 15 October, fans are now opting for the next best thing: encore screenings. The Barbican production, distributed by NT Live, notched up another £184,000 at the weekend, taking the tally so far to £2.45m. The previous best for a Shakespeare play in cinemas was David Tennant in Richard II, with £1.47m. Hamlet is now just ahead of the National Theatre’s Frankenstein, in second place in the all-time event cinema UK rankings, behind only War Horse (£2.93m). That’s not counting Secret Cinema events, which are fundamentally different in nature.

Jumpers for Goalposts, Ed Sheeran’s concert film taken from his three Wembley dates this summer, also delivered some handy encore numbers at the weekend, totalling £99,000. Including the live feed of the Leicester Square premiere last Thursday, with Sheeran in attendance, the total now stands at £347,000. Cumberbatch’s Hamlet is just £100,000 behind the total so far for the current Macbeth film, starring Michael Fassbender. Since the play is on at London’s Barbican, the incremental cost of filming it and beaming it to cinemas is negligible – although profit-sharing with key creative contributors, including the star driving the ticket sales, remains a question mark. Marketing costs also look significantly lower than the typical budget for launching a film.

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