UK Box Office

The winner: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Given warm audience approval for the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie (an 8.1/10 user rating at IMDb, for example), it was always likely that a sequel would open big. So it has proved, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 opening in the UK with £13.1m (£17.8m including bank holiday Monday). That compares with a debut of £8.65m for Fast & Furious 8 a couple of weeks ago (£14.03m including two days of previews).

Disney has now scored the two biggest openings of the year: for its latest Marvel adventure and for fairytale adaptation Beauty and the Beast, which began in March with £19.7m. These two follow on from Disney/Lucasfilm’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which began last December with £17.31m. The last time a rival studio released anything at an equivalent level was last November, when Warners’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them took £15.3m on its debut.

The original Guardians of the Galaxy movie began in August 2014 with £4.99m, plus £1.37m in previews. Comparing the like-for-like three-day weekend periods, the sequel has opened 162% bigger. Disney is also celebrating Beauty and the Beast crossing £70m in the UK at the weekend – it is only the eighth film to do so.

The plucky indie hit: Lady Macbeth

When UK distributor Altitude released the list of cinemas showing low-budget British indie Lady Macbeth for the first week of play, many commentators considered the 104-strong lineup a tad optimistic. From a first-time director (theatre alumnus William Oldroyd) and starring a supporting actor from The Falling, Florence Pugh, would there be enough audience buzz and critical acclaim to sustain it at that level?

There should be satisfaction and relief at Altitude for Lady Macbeth’s debut of £153,000 (£191,000 including previews, £253,000 including bank holiday Monday). A plethora of British indie flicks have come unstuck at the UK box office lately, from Catch Me Daddy and The Goob to The Survivalist, The Ones Below, Couple in a Hole and, more recently, Trespass Against Us and City of Tiny Lights. The success of Lady Macbeth should help dial down the pessimism.

The £1m foreign language film

The first non-Bollywood foreign language film to pass the £1m barrier since Pedro Almodóvar’s Julieta last autumn is Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden. The erotic drama reached the milestone on Sunday; the tally including the Monday holiday is now £1.04m. The film was helped on its way by a six-day Secret Cinema run that delivered £159,000. Apart from Almodóvar titles, the last non-Bollywood foreign language film to reach £1m in the UK was 2014’s The Raid 2, so the arthouse sector takes encouragement from The Handmaiden’s success.

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