UK box office

The chart topper: King Arthur

Buzz on King Arthur: Legend of the Sword may have been pretty flat following its weak performance in the US and other territories the previous weekend, but Guy Ritchie’s Middle Ages actioner nevertheless managed to nab the top spot at the UK box office, dethroning Alien: Covenant. It did so courtesy of fairly uninspired debut takings of £2.5m. That’s the lowest gross for a No1 film so far this year, and also the lowest since early September 2016, when Sausage Party held on to the top spot in a weak field of new releases led by Ben-Hur.

In truth, the news isn’t even as good as that, as King Arthur made it to the top spot courtesy of preview takings totalling £578,000. Strip those out, and the film landed in third place, behind both Alien: Covenant (£2.13m) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (£1.94m).

King Arthur is the latest attempt by Warner Bros to create new film franchises from classic characters, which it has done in recent years with Pan, Legend of Tarzan and Kong: Skull Island. The characters’ familiarity is presumed to be a plus – although that tends to work only if cinemagoers are convinced that a fresh take is being offered, and in an appealing way.

The comedy alternative: Snatched

While blockbuster action dominated the market, Fox offered an alternative with the comedy Snatched, starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn. The film landed with a just-OK £842,000 – marginally down on the £932,000 UK debut of Schumer’s Trainwreck, in August 2015. Given that Trainwreck grossed $110m in the US and just $31m in the rest of the world, it seems to fair to say that Schumer has yet to establish herself as a major international star. Snatched seems unlikely to provide the global breakthrough.

The indie option: Colossal

Also providing an alternative to the summer blockbusters is Colossal, which quirkily combines the indie slacker comedy with elements of monster sci-fi. It’s definitely offering something different, although audiences were always likely to struggle to get their heads around the genre mashup. The Anne Hathaway film went out into 145 cinemas, grossing a fairly flat £151,000.

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