UK Box Office

With a reported production budget of $40m (£26.7m), Victor Frankenstein looks as if it might be a costly disappointment for its stakeholders, including distributor Fox. The film has grossed only $5.1m in the US after 10 days, but the UK was viewed as potentially more fertile terrain, given a British setting and cast including James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe. Weekend takings of just £375,000 are boosted by Thursday previews to a four-day tally of £431,000. Thanks to a wide release in 419 cinemas, that works out to a site average of £1,029 (or £896 if previews are excluded). The film landed in lowly eighth place in the box office chart, and it would have been ninth without the boosts from previews.

Aside from his turn in X-Men, McAvoy has struggled to launch hit films in the UK lately, with Trance and Welcome to the Punch being among his box office underachievers. However, the low-budget Irvine Welsh adaptation Filth proved a profitable success, with a UK gross of £3.9m. Radcliffe scored massively with The Woman in Black (£21.3m) in 2012, but has since struggled to pull audiences to Horns and What If.

With Victor Frankenstein, Fox gambled that audiences were ready for another telling of Mary Shelley’s oft-told tale, offering a fresh spin that deviated significantly from the novel. Audiences, however, appeared to be indifferent.

Christmas movies hit a cold front

While there is no major Christmas-themed family film, like a Nativity, this year, three titles for grownups competed for the festive audience at the weekend. All are showing a distinct lack of sparkle at the box office.

Best of a weak bunch is Christmas With the Coopers, which landed in fifth place. The family ensemble comedy managed £524,000 from 372 cinemas over the weekend period, with previews boosting the tally to £683,000. Multi-generation family outings could yet drag this one to a decent number by Christmas Day.

In ninth place is horror-comedy Krampus, with £413,000 from 324 cinemas (although it beat eighth-placed Victor Frankenstein over the actual weekend period). Certified 15 for “strong threat”, Krampus offered a clear alternative to other films on release, although the Christmas theme may not be an attraction for genre fans.

Landing outside the top 10 is The Night Before, the latest comedy from producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Bad Neighbours). The film got off to a disastrous start, with £273,000 from 279 cinemas, yielding an average of £978 per cinema. Bad Neighbours kicked off with £3.29m plus £5.16m in previews, in May 2014.

Bad Santa proved in 2003 that it is possible to engage comedy audiences with a festive film that isn’t exactly selling fuzzy and feelgood, but The Night Before appears to have missed the mark.

Read More…