UK Box Office

The winners: family films

While glorious sunshine at the weekend created very tough conditions for cinema operators across the UK, the Easter school holiday delivered up an audience for titles with a clear family positioning. DreamWorks Animation’s The Boss Baby posted £2.8m for the weekend period, just ahead of Beauty and the Beast’s £2.76m. However, a very aggressive previews strategy meant that The Boss Baby added takings from the preceding six days (1-6 April), essentially creating a nine-day opening “weekend” figure of £8.03m. In the same nine-day period, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast earned £12.21m.

Beauty and the Beast’s total now stands at a towering £58.5m, making it the 14th biggest hit of all time at the UK box office, ahead of titles including Casino Royale and The Dark Knight Rises, as well as six of the eight Harry Potter films.

Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience rounds out the top three, with a UK opening of £1.05m. The film’s title suggests that this is the first big-screen outing for the reliably profitable piglet; however, Peppa Pig: The Golden Boots debuted at UK cinemas in February 2015 with £687,000, on its way to a total of £2.33m. Both films are episode compilations – all exclusive and new in the case of the latest toddler-targeted assemblage.

The losers: adult comedies

While families seem by and large to have stuck with planned cinema outings at the weekend, adults stayed away in droves, with big drops for titles such as Ghost in the Shell, Jake Gyllenhaal sci-fi Life and Ben Wheatley’s trigger-happy Free Fire. Among new releases, audiences were thin for old-geezer comedy Going in Style, starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin – opening tally was a not-so-stylish £569,000 from 454 cinemas. The Anna Kendrick wedding comedy Table 19 opened ignominiously in 12th place, with £131,000 from 221 cinemas, and a puny site average of £591.

The indie battle: A Quiet Passion v Raw v I Am Not Your Negro

Three very different films battled to be crowned king of the arthouses at the weekend, with honours pretty even. Ignoring previews from consideration, only a few thousand pounds separated the weekend totals of Raul Peck’s historical documentary I Am Not Your Negro (£54,600), Terence Davies’ Emily Dickinson biopic A Quiet Passion (£52,100) and Julia Ducournau’s sexy French horror Raw(£48,800). I Am Not Your Negro, on the fewest screens among the trio, achieved the highest site average for the weekend.

Also fighting for a piece of the action was the Chilean biopic Neruda, from Jackie director Pablo Larraín – the film debuted with £28,400 from 26 cinemas. Contemporary London crime drama City of Tiny Lights was the emphatic loser of this week’s crop of indie flicks, with £15,700 from 57 cinemas for the weekend period. A big problem it faced: indie cinemas, its natural home, had plenty of other titles to choose from, and audiences were always unlikely to find it in multiplexes. The sunshine then sealed the fate for the picture, which stars Riz Ahmed and Billie Piper.

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