UK Box Office

The winner: Don’t Breathe

With Sausage Party retaining the top spot at the UK box office, several new releases battled for second place. Honours go to Ben-Hur, with £1.05m from 509 cinemas, but that number includes Wednesday and Thursday previews totalling £265,000. Strip those out, and Ben-Hur’s tally falls to £783,000. Don’t Breathe earned all its £1.03m opening number from the three-day weekend period.

Don’t Breathe is shaping up to be highly profitable. Production budget is a reported $10m, and the film has already grossed $67m in the US. The UK opening number isn’t anything special – Warners’ Lights Out debuted a few weeks ago with £1.13m – and was probably hit by the sunny weather on Sunday. On the other hand, rain on Saturday gave all films a boost.

The loser: Ben-Hur

Ben-Hur’s weekend takings of £783,000 would have put it in fifth place for the weekend period, behind Sausage Party, Don’t Breathe, Bad Moms and Kubo and the Two Strings. Production budget is a reported $100m.

Even if previews are added to Ben-Hur’s opening tally, 56 films have opened bigger in the UK so far in 2016, and its box office is far from the blockbuster numbers it needs to achieve profitability. US box office is a calamitous $26m so far, but foreign is helping to stem the losses, with decent numbers in Brazil and Mexico.

Laika dips with Kubo

September has traditionally been Universal’s favoured slot for a Laika animation, with Kubo and the Two Strings following the pattern set in 2012 by ParaNormanand in 2014 by The Boxtrolls. (Coraline, in 2009, was a May release in the UK.) Kids are back at school, and competition from other family films is less intense. ParaNorman debuted with £1.39m, and The Boxtrolls with £1.31m plus £689,000 in previews. Coraline was even stronger, beginning with £1.56m plus £872,000 in previews. Kubo falls below these earlier Laika hits, with a debut of £844,000 from 520 cinemas.

Bad Moms and David Brent: a tale of two comedies

With third-weekend takings of £898,000, Bad Moms falls just 22%, the smallest decline of any film in the Top 10. This follows a drop of just 5% in the previous session. Compare that with the performance of David Brent: Life on the Road, which has been on release one week longer, and has fallen by 65%, 63% and now 82%. You’d expect bigger drops for a film based on a familiar character, as fans will tend to rush out and see it in the first week of release. Still, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa achieved a final box office of £6.17m, after a debut of £1.43m plus previews – a multiple of 4.3 times its opening. David Brent kicked off with £1.45m plus negligible previews, and is looking set for a lifetime total of about £3.7m – a multiple of just 2.6 times the opening number.

Bad Moms (£5.74m so far) is an interesting case in that the film was not glowingly reviewed but is winning UK audiences. While Sausage Party is providing competition, that picture changes this week with the arrival of Bridget Jones’s Baby.

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