The winner: The Jungle Book
Delivering the strongest hold of any film in the UK box-office top 10, The Jungle Book declined only 18% from its stunning opening frame, with second-weekend takings of £8.10m and a 10-day total of £21.66m. Anyway you look at it, £8m is a mighty number for a film’s second week. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which had a significantly bigger debut than The Jungle Book, delivered just £4.66m on its second weekend. Deadpool, which has so far managed a powerful £37.9m, took £5.69m.
Last year, only four films took more than £8m on their second weekends, and they were all franchise blockbusters: The Avengers: Age of Ultron (£8.59m in the second session), Jurassic World (£11.13m), Spectre (£13.14m) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (£10.16m, although that number was hampered because cinemas were closed on Christmas Day). Fast & Furious 7, which delivered a grand total of £38.6m, grossed £5.41m in its second weekend.
Anecdotally, The Jungle Book is holding up well in its late-evening slot – a sure sign that it appeals to adults and groups in addition to its core family audience. Cinemas with premium-priced luxury screens are also doing well with it, another sign that the film is playing to adults unaccompanied by kids. Weekend business remains strongest, however, and families are a key component of the film’s continuing success.
The runner-up: Eye in the Sky
Also delivering a nice hold – down only 26% at the box office – is the drone thrillerEye in the Sky, starring Helen Mirren. Second weekend takings of £826,000 push the 10-day tally to £2.62m. Its endurance was aided by a modest expansion from 428 to 478 cinemas. Directed by Gavin Hood (Tsotsi), the film continues to perform well in multiplex venues and indie cinemas, straddling the marketplace. Its IMDb user rating is a robust 7.8/10, slightly ahead of the MetaCritic rating of 73/100.
The UK result is running ahead of the US, proportionate to the size of the markets. In the US, where Eye in the Sky has neared the end of its run, it has grossed $15m (£10.3m) – a UK equivalent number would be £1.5m. In fact, Eye in the Sky is likely to end up in the £4-5m range for the UK. All films will suffer with the UK arrival on Friday of Captain America: Civil War, but Eye in the Sky is offering an engaging alternative for older audiences.
The new arrivals: Bastille Day and Friend Request
Challenging Eye in the Sky for the more mainstream portion of its audience is Bastille Day, the Paris-set thriller starring Idris Elba and Game of Thrones’s Richard Madden. Debut takings are a respectable £729,000 from 439 cinemas, with previews taking the number up to £763,000. Although Elba is a prolific actor, and his voice features in current hits The Jungle Book and Zootropolis, lead film roles are relatively rare, especially in films targeting the mainstream. Instead, he’s been seen in supporting parts in the likes of Thor, Prometheus and Pacific Rim, and he plays the villain Krall in the forthcoming Star Trek Beyond. Elba’s most notable lead role was in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which debuted in January 2014 with £1.47m, including previews of £36,000.
Teen horror Friend Request has debuted with a soft £515,000 from 402 cinemas, with two days of previews taking that tally up to £625,000. The obvious comparison is last year’s Unfriended, which kicked off with a sturdier £1.35m.Read More…