UK Box Office

The winner: Kung Fu Panda 3

With most UK schools not breaking up for the Easter holidays until Thursday, DreamWorks Animation and distribution partner Fox can look forward to at least 17 days of great business for Kung Fu Panda 3, beginning on Good Friday. And the film has already grossed £7.08m, holding the box-office crown again at the weekend in its second week of release.

The family animation faced competition on Saturday and Sunday from Disney’s Zootropolis, which played nationwide previews. Those numbers are not officially reported yet, but they are lower than Kung Fu Panda 3’s weekend takings of £1.74m, and also a bit lower than its rival’s Saturday/Sunday grosses. Worldwide,Zootropolis (or Zootopia as it’s known in many territories) has grossed $593m so far, as against $398m for Kung Fu Panda 3. In the UK, Kung Fu Panda 3 still has a long way to go to catch the first two films in the franchise (£20.3m and £18.3m).

The runner-up: 10 Cloverfield Lane

Predicting box office on 10 Cloverfield Lane wasn’t easy. On the one hand, it has the value of the Cloverfield brand, reinforced by the cachet of producer JJ Abrams. On the other, Paramount made it clear that this was a “spiritual successor”, not a sequel, to Cloverfield, that the film had been repurposed from a kidnap thriller screenplay called The Cellar, and was achieved with a lower production cost than its predecessor. In other words, whatever intriguing delight 10 Cloverfield Lane was offering, it wouldn’t be all-out monster mayhem for 100 minutes.

The result: 10 Cloverfield Lane opened in the UK with £1.60m from 488 cinemas. This compares with a debut of £3.49m from 386 cinemas for Cloverfield back in February 2008. Obviously the comparison doesn’t flatter 10 Cloverfield Lane, since the number is less than half its predecessor, on 26% more screens, and with cinema tickets at least 30% more expensive than in 2008.

On the other hand, a £1.60m UK debut for a relatively low-budget genre film, essentially populated by three actors, none of them marquee names, and largely set in a basement – most studios would like the economics of that proposition. The film has already grossed $45m in US cinemas. Even allowing for the revenue split with the theatres, and Paramount’s marketing costs, that puts 10 Cloverfield Lane well along the road to profitability.

The indie hit: High-Rise

Ben Wheatley’s JG Ballard adaptation High-Rise has begun in the UK with £543,000 from 153 cinemas, including previews of £104,000. Stripping out the previews, that yields a healthy site average of £2,866. For comparison, Wheatley’sSightseers debuted in November 2012 with £213,000 from 92 cinemas, including £28,000 in previews. A year earlier, Kill List kicked off with £88,000 from 47 screens, including £1,000 in previews. A Field in England premiered simultaneously in cinemas, on DVD, on VOD and free-to-air television (on Film 4), so comparisons are not relevant – but it was theatrically modest.

High-Rise, from established source material and starring Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller, Elisabeth Moss and Luke Evans, is significantly Wheatley’s biggest film, by budget, scale of release and box office. It has already overtaken the UK lifetime total of Kill List (£265,000) and will cruise past Sightseers’ final cume (£662,000). Reactions to High-Rise have polarised, with 5.4% of IMDb users awarding it 1 out of 10, and 15.2% grading it 10. Average is 6.7. MetaCritic offers it a score of 62/100, although that includes the Guardian’s two-star Toronto film festival review rather than Peter Bradshaw’s subsequent four-star assessment.

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