Wonder Woman battles blue skies as UK filmgoers ditch box office for beach

The winner: the sunshine

With no new blockbusters released into UK cinemas at the weekend, and scorching temperatures across most of Britain, it’s no surprise that box office plunged. The market fell 53% from the previous session, delivering the worst weekend of the last year for ticket revenue. Takings are 62% below the average for the previous 52 weekends. In fact, they are the worst since October 2013, when the top new release was the Julian Assange biopic The Fifth Estate, a flop.

Given the lack of powerful new challengers, Wonder Woman was able to hold on to the top spot for its third session. Its takings declined 46%, the second gentlest decline in the UK Top 10, behind Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2’s fall of 41%. Only three films in 2017 have managed to spend three weeks at No 1: The Lego Batman Movie, Beauty and the Beast and now Wonder Woman. Having reached £16.3m, it has a decent shot at becoming the 10th release this year to crack £20m at the UK box office.

The grey pound

Among new releases, two mainstream indie titles faced off against each other in a bid to segment the market. Churchill, depicting the British wartime leader’s trepidation over the D-day landings in 1944, had a defined audience of older, wealthier viewers, and opened with a so-so £393,000 from 345 cinemas, including modest previews of £10,000. The site average was £1,138.

Gifted, which stars Chris Evans as a man battling his mother (Lindsay Duncan) for custody of his young niece, a maths prodigy – was targeted at women aged 25 to 45, but struggled to define itself as a must-see film. The result: a fairly weak debut of £305,000 (including previews of £54,000) from 323 cinemas. Site average was £945. My Cousin Rachel is another title that straddles the indie and multiplex sectors, and whose audience appeal overlapped with both of these films. The Daphne du Maurier adaptation dropped by 58% from its opening session and stands at £1.56m.

The documentary

Whitney: Can I Be Me lands in the official comScore Top 10 with an opening of £94,000 from 60 cinemas, yielding a decent £1,564 average. Sadly, the real story of the Nick Broomfield co-directed documentary is not as impressive. The total is boosted by previews of £55,000, including £45,000 from the previous Sunday’s live premiere, beamed into 137 cinemas from the Sheffield Doc/Fest and including a Q&A with Broomfield and a musical performance by The Voice finalist and former Houston backing vocalist Michelle John.


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