The winner: Despicable Me 3
With a sturdy debut of £11.15m, Despicable Me 3 had no problem knocking Transformers: The Last Knight off the top spot at the UK box office chart. It scored the third biggest opening of the year, behind Beauty and the Beast (£19.7m) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (£13.09m), and is the biggest animation debut of the year so far, ahead of Sing (£6.29m plus £4.2m in previews) and The Lego Batman Movie (£5.46m plus £2.45m in previews). It is also bigger than last year’s top animated openings for Finding Dory (£8.12m) and The Secret Life of Pets (£9.58m). The Jungle Book, which was significantly animated, began last year with £9.9m.
The Despicable Me 3 figure is slightly down on the debut salvo of Minions, which began in June 2015 with £11.59m, setting a record opening for an animation, if previews are excluded from consideration for competitor releases. Despicable Me 2 kicked off with £9.95m in June 2013, with previews taking that total to £14.82m. The original Despicable Me, which opened for the October half-term holiday in 2010, was much more modest, beginning with £3.66m, including £205,000 in previews. It’s notable that, beginning with Despicable Me 2, all films in this franchise (including Minions) have landed the same last-Friday-in-June release date in the UK – clearly a winner for distributor Universal.
The runner-up: Baby Driver
With a debut of £2.39m and £3.61m including Wednesday/Thursday previews, Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver has got off to a speedy start. Relevant comparisons are tricky, because Wright’s last film was The World’s End, which benefited from being the last part of his “Cornetto” trilogy (following Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz), featuring regular collaborators Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. In any case, Baby Driver has opened a little ahead of The World’s End, which kicked off with £2.12m in July 2013.
Wright’s US-set Scott Pilgrim vs the World is a more apt comparison for Baby Driver. That film began in August 2010 with £1.6m including £532,000 in previews. Baby Driver has so far achieved a high IMDb user rating of 8.4/10 and a MetaCritic score of 86/100, suggesting it could enjoy some decent box office.
The niche hit: All Eyez on Me
Released into a tight 270 cinemas (compared with 608 for Despicable Me 3 and 543 for Baby Driver), Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me has achieved a creditable site average of £3,380 from an opening gross of £913,000. While that’s below the debut frame of 2015’s NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton (£2.5m from 429 cinemas), distributor Lionsgate will be encouraged. The film’s director Benny Boom is best known for directing music videos (50 Cent, Nelly, Nicki Minaj), while star Demetrius Shipp Jr was unknown to audiences, which suggests All Eyez on Me’s subject and soundtrack provided strong marketable elements.
The flop: The House
Will Ferrell is hit and miss at the UK box office. His last lead role was in Daddy’s Home, which proved a big commercial winner, but his new comedy The House is very much in the miss category, with a debut of £488,000 from 407 cinemas. Ferrell stars as a man who convinces his friends to start an illegal casino in his basement after he and his wife (Amy Poehler) spend their daughter’s college fund.Read More…