UK Box Office

The winner: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge

With £5.24m including previews totalling £691,000, the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie had no trouble dethroning King Arthur: Legend of the Sword to grab the top spot at the UK box office. How does that opening number measure up to previous instalments in the franchise?

Previous Pirates picture On Stranger Tides arrived almost exactly six years ago with £11.63m including previews of £3.07m – that is 88% bigger than the new movie, if previews are stripped out, despite the ticket price rises that favour Salazar’s Revenge.

At World’s End, the final film in the original trilogy, began its run in May 2007 with £13.41m including £2.01m. A year prior, Dead Man’s Chest opened slightly bigger, with £13.74m including £2.28m in previews.

Only the original Pirates film, 2003’s The Curse of the Black Pearl, opened smaller than Salazar’s Revenge, with debut takings of £3.77m – but it had the disadvantage of not being a sequel in an established film franchise and much lower ticket prices.

In fairness to Salazar’s Revenge, the movie faced the challenge of gloriously sunny weather on Friday and Saturday. Takings rose from Saturday to Sunday – as they did for many films in the marketplace – and surged on rainy bank holiday Monday. Monday’s box office of £2.07m boosts Salazar’s Revenge’s tally to a more impressive £7.31m.

While April this year delivered giant openings for both Fast & Furious 8 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, May’s crop of films has not measured up. Alien: Covenant, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and now Salazar’s Revenge have all failed to deliver UK opening weekends that would rank in the top 10 debuts for 2017 so far.

The runner-up: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

Thanks to previews totalling £786,000, the latest in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series lands in second place in the official comScore chart, with a £1.44m debut. But that is misleading. The film’s actual weekend haul of £658,000 is enough only for fourth place, behind Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and Alien: Covenant. Including bank holiday Monday, Guardians has now pushed past £38m. With one final heave from distributor Disney, it could crack £40m by the end of its run. The original Guardians of the Galaxy film grossed £28.5m in 2014.

The indie battle: The Red Turtle v The Other Side of Hope

A pair of upscale alternatives from foreign-born film-makers battled for the attention of arthouse cinema fans. The Other Side of Hope from Finland’s Aki Kaurismäki kicked off with £58,000 from 48 cinemas, with previews taking that number up to £67,000. Studio Ghibli animation The Red Turtle, from Dutch-born Michaël Dudok de Wit, didn’t have to face the commercial challenge of subtitles, but you could argue that the film’s near-total absence of dialogue posed an equivalent hurdle for audiences. The castaway tale began with a slightly sturdier £64,000 from 41 cinemas, and £92,000 including previews.

Read More…