UK Box Office

The winner: Finding Dory

Returning to the top spot in its fourth week of play, Finding Dory has ended the two-week reign of Suicide Squad. While Suicide Squad saw its box office decline 40% from the previous weekend, Finding Dory rose 12%. Weather most likely played a factor across the market, with weekend rain proving a boon to cinemas. Family films also scored particularly well, with audiences returning from holidays abroad and catching up on titles they missed. The BFG rose 10%, for example, and Pete’s Dragon fell a slim 6%.

After 24 days of play, Finding Dory has reached £32.4m, breathing down the neck of The Secret Life of Pets, the year’s top animated title so far on £33.7m. The Pixar sequel is only the sixth film this year to crack £30m, along with The Jungle Book, Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and The Secret Life of Pets. Three of the six are Disney titles, with one apiece from Fox, Warners and Universal. Warners’ Suicide Squad, on £27.7m so far, looks set to be the next 2016 release to make it into the £30m club.

With another two weeks before kids return to school in England and Wales, and the upcoming August Bank Holiday weekend, there should be plenty more life left in Finding Dory. Last summer, Pixar’s Inside Out had reached £30.7m at the same stage of the summer holiday, and ultimately reached £39.2m, boosted by a return to cinemas in the October half-term holiday. Look for the pattern to repeat with Dory.

King of the newbies: David Brent

Seeing off the challenge of Lights Out, Swallows and Amazons and Nine Lives, Ricky Gervais’s David Brent: Life on the Road was the top new release of the weekend, landing in the chart in third place. A debut gross of £1.46m compares with a very similar £1.43m plus £744,000 in previews for the opening salvo of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa back in August 2013. Both films are cringe comedies celebrating man-child narcissists, that achieved big-screen success years after the respective characters’ peak TV popularity. Alpha Papa ended on £6.2m in the UK, which would be a very decent final result for Life on the Road.

Among the widely released new films (300 cinemas or more), the wooden spoon goes to Nine Lives, featuring Kevin Spacey as a businessman who finds himself trapped in the body of the family cat. The film charted in ninth place. A PG rating will see it play to families looking for a comedy, but it isn’t specifically positioned as a children’s film.

Strength in depth

For only the fourth time this year, six movies delivered weekend grosses above £1m. But the strength in the market goes deeper than that, with 14 films contributing weekend box office above £300,000. That’s the first time this has happened since the middle of January 2015, when titles on release included leftover holiday season fare such as Annie and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, and awards contenders including The Theory of Everything, American Sniper, Into the Woods, Birdman, Whiplash, Wild, Testament of Youth and Foxcatcher.

Admissions update

Admissions figures – the number of tickets sold – are in for July, and they show a healthy 4.5% rise on July 2015. They also show the highest July total since 2011, when Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 were on offer. The top new releases in July last year were Inside Out and Ant-Man, but that month also benefited from a huge chunk of the box office for Minions, which was released on 26 June, as well as a tidy amount for June release Jurassic World.

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