UK Box Office

The winner: Rogue One

With a UK debut of £17.31m for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Disney was quick to trumpet the result as the biggest opening of 2016 as well as the second biggest December opening, behind last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Certainly Rogue One has done well, confirming that fans will line up for Star Wars spin-off titles.

Disney made clear that the £17.31m debut was earned over four days. What it omitted to say was that, on a weekend period comparison, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opened bigger. Over Friday to Sunday, Rogue One grossed £13.22m, while Fantastic Beasts’ three-day debut was £15.33m.

Fantastic Beasts has now reached £45.0m, and should push towards £50m by the end of its run, as families see it over Christmas. Rogue One should clean up during the school holiday, although the 12A certificate may be a red flag for families with younger children.

The Force Awakens began a year ago with £34.01m (including Thursday previews of £9.68m) on its way to £123m. A similar trajectory would take Rogue One to £63m – almost certainly ahead of Fantastic Beasts, and thus the biggest release of 2016. Currently, the top achievers of 2016 remain Bridget Jones’s Baby and The Jungle Book.

The impact

The arrival of Rogue One in multiple screens at most of its 698 locations had a devastating impact on other recent releases. Top titles such as Moana, Fantastic Beasts and Sully: Miracle on the Hudson were able to hold on to a high proportion of their cinemas, but it was a different story lower down the chart. Arrivalcontracted from 283 to 156 cinemas,and Allied from 436 to 202. A United Kingdom fell from 314 sites to 93, and Nocturnal Animals dropped from 49 to 15. Snowden lost 103 of its 184 cinemas, and The Birth of a Nation plummeted from 196 to 49.

In terms of box office revenue, Nocturnal Animals did well to fall by only 42%, but the others dropped more than 50%, and 80% or more in the case of Snowden and The Birth of a Nation.

The festive surge

The James Stewart classic It’s a Wonderful Life expanded from 19 to 72 cinemas, and more than tripled takings at the box office from the previous weekend, crashing back into the Top 10 with £86,000. Since Park Circus rereleased the title for Christmas 2007, it’s grossed £2.39m – an average of £266,000 a year. Certain venues, including Tyneside cinema and Glasgow film theatre, have turned it into a festive tradition. Tyneside cinema achieved 1,600 admissions at the weekend – almost as many as saw Rogue One at the venue.

The live event: The Nutcracker

Another week, another version of The Nutcracker hits cinemas. Previously it was the Royal Opera House presentation; this time it was the Bolshoi Ballet’s, which played in cinemas on Sunday afternoon. The Bolshoi version grossed £135,000 from 123 cinemas, which compares unfavourably with the Royal Opera’s numbers: £796,000 from the live broadcast on Thursday 8 December, and £946,000 so far including the latest set of encores.

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