UK Box Office

The winner: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

By taking £27.4m in 10 days, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 has almost matched the UK lifetime of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, which earned £28.5m in 2014. But although Vol 2 is clearly on course to be much bigger than its predecessor, its burnout rate has been faster.

The original film, which was based on a lesser-known Marvel property, began with just under £5m (plus £1.37m previews), falling a gentle 33% in the second frame. This time around, with huge fan anticipation for a second helping, Vol 2 began with a stellar £13.1m, but then fell 57% in the second session.

Vol 2 is in fifth place for the year so far, behind Beauty and the Beast (the runaway winner with £71.2m), La La Land (£30.4m), Sing (£28.7m) and Fast & Furious 8(£28.1m). Add in The Lego Batman Movie, The Boss Baby, Logan and Fifty Shades Darker and already 2017 has produced nine films achieving £20m-plus in the UK. At the same stage last year, there had been only six: The Jungle Book, Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Zootropolisand The Revenant. The difference in the number of big hits is reflected in the fact that UK box office for January-April 2017 is up 18% on the first four months of 2016.

The runner-up: A Dog’s Purpose

Landing in second place with £1.3m, Lasse Hallström’s heartwarmer A Dog’s Purpose was the clear winner among the new releases, seeing off Jamie Foxx in Sleepless (£369,000) and Noomi Rapace in London-set thriller Unlocked(£258,000).

However, £667,000 of the opening tally for A Dog’s Purpose comes from extensive previews. It actually grossed a more modest £633,000 over the 5-7 May weekend. Factor in discrepancies in cinema counts, and the three new films didn’t perform so differently. Ignoring previews, site averages were : A Dog’s Purpose, £1,261; Sleepless, £856; Unlocked, £943.

The indie alternative: Mindhorn

Released into a more targeted 96 cinemas, British comedy Mindhorn achieved the strongest average of any of the new releases (£1,931) thanks to a debut of £185,000. Previews boost that opening number to £280,000. Attempting to put that result into perspective isn’t so easy, since indie British comedies have been thin on the ground lately, and most British comedies of recent years have been spun off TV shows such as Dad’s Army, The Office, The Inbetweeners, Absolutely Fabulous, Mrs Brown’s Boys and Bad Education.

Exceptions have included films with a more family skew, including Bill (featuring the Horrible Histories talent) and What We Did on Our Holiday (from the makers of Outnumbered). A more apt comparison might be Bunny and the Bull (2009), which featured Mindhorn’s Julian Barratt and Simon Farnaby in its cast. The Paul King comedy began with a poor £27,500 from 27 cinemas, on its way to an £88,000 total.

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