It was English national treasures (Maggie Smith, Alan Bennett) v American brainiacs (Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs) at the UK box office this week, with the former scoring a convincing victory. The Lady in the Van opened with a very healthy £2.26m, as against £913,000 for Steve Jobs.
The number compares very well with the last film adaptation of a Bennett play: The History Boys debuted with £795,000 in 2006, on its way to a total of £4.34m. Much of the difference can be attributed to the box-office power of Smith, who supported the film with an appearance on the Graham Norton Show, her first chatshow appearance in four decades. The film had a very defined (older) audience, which the distributor Sony was able to target with marketing.
The Steve Jobs number can be compared with the UK debut of £2.49m, including £383,000 in previews, of the Sorkin-scripted The Social Network. It’s perhaps fair to say that the story of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg is relatable to more people than the story of Apple and Steve Jobs. The release of The Social Network, in 2010, was also arguably more timely.
Spectre pushes towards £80m
By most measures, third-weekend takings for Spectre of £7.83m are pretty impressive. Only in comparison to Skyfall, which grossed £10.45m in its third frame, does the Spectre number suffer. After 21 days, Spectre has grossed a hefty £77.6m. Skyfall had reached a very similar £77.3m at the same stage of its run.
Skyfall went on to achieve a remarkable £102.9m, and you might say that Spectre looks on course to reach a similar number. One fly in the ointment is that Spectre’s grosses are more front-loaded, with successive weekly declines of 34% and 40%. The equivalent drops for Skyfall were 20% and 35%. In other words, Spectre is, so far, tailing off quicker.
Spectre is already the fourth-biggest hit of all time in the UK, behind only Skyfall, Avatar (£94.0m) and Titanic (£80.1m, including the 3D re-release). Next come Toy Story 3 (£74.0m) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (£73.1m).
Spectre faces a significant challenge from this Thursday, with the arrival of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. Skyfall faced an equivalent blockbuster challenge (The Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn Part 2) in its fourth week of release, dropping 47% from the previous frame.Read More…