UK Box Office

first two Iron Man films, both Thors and both Captain Americas. It’s chomping at the tail of Guardians of the Galaxy (£28.5m), and should overtake it soon.

After two weekends of play, last summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron stood at £32.3m, and Deadpool is running 20% behind the pace of that film. Given Age of Ultron’s final total of £48.3m, Deadpool could be looking at a cumulative tally in the region of £38-39m. Deadpool’s positioning as more of a cult item could see a faster burnout rate. On the other hand, scorching word-of-mouth (8.6/10 at IMDb) could underpin a strong sustain in the market, including some nice repeat business.

The half-term winner: the Chipmunks

Cinema bookers may have been bemoaning the lack of a heavy hitter for the family audience in the half-term holiday, with nothing in the release calendar equivalent to, say, 2014’s The Lego Movie, or even 2015’s Big Hero 6. Still, the latest serving of Chipmunks has filled the gap very nicely, with £13.15m so far forThe Road Chip, and £11.45m since kids broke up. Top performer in the franchise remains second episode The Squeakquel, with £24.04m. Although The Road Chip will drop heavily now that kids are back at school, it should overtake third picture Chipwrecked’s final tally of £15.67m.

Goosebumps, with a decent £7.56m so far, was the runner-up in the battle for the half-term family audience.

The new arrivals

Three new releases each arrived at more than 400 cinemas, but none set the box office on fire. Best among them was How to Be Single, loosely based on the novel by Liz Tuccillo. Valentine’s Day previews of £405,000 helped push the opening tally to a decent £1.88m from 432 venues. For comparison, romantic comedic ensemble He’s Just Not That Into You, adapted from a non-fiction book co-written by Tucillo, began with £1.91m in February 2009, without benefit of previews.

Landing in sixth place is Triple 9 from director John Hillcoat (Lawless, The Road), with a cast featuring Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Winslet, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul and Woody Harrelson. Opening number is a respectable £813,000 from 448 sites. Lawless began in September 2012 with a similar £973,000 from 410 cinemas, including previews of £82,000.

Weakest of the bunch of newcomers is 11th-placed The Finest Hours, the true story of a 1952 US Coast Guard rescue of a stricken oil tanker’s crew, starring Chris Pine, Casey Affleck and Holliday Grainger. A rather optimistic 3D presentation for a film that offers more character-driven drama than Atlantic Ocean action spectacle failed to position the film as commercial blockbuster entertainment. A weak debut of £248,000 from 424 venues resulted. Wolfgang Petersen’s The Perfect Storm began in July 2000 with £2.18m.

The late surge: The Revenant

If audiences wish to catch up on any viewing omissions of the major contenders at this Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony, top choice is likely to be The Revenant, which won five Baftas including film, director and actor. That could be behind the reason for the Alejandro González Iñárritu film’s tiny drop of 4% at the box office at the weekend (compared with falls of 28% and 30% for Spotlight and The Big Short).

After six weeks of play, The Revenant has grossed £21.05m in the UK, within spitting distance of the £21.71m earned by The Theory of Everything – the biggest-grossing best-picture Oscar nominee from last year. The Revenant is now certain to overtake that film, but may not catch The Martian (£23.62m), currently the top grosser here among this year’s best-picture nominees. Another target for The Revenant is The Wolf of Wall Street (£22.70m), the last film that earned Leonardo DiCaprio an Oscar nomination.

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