Spider-Man struggles on ascent to top of UK box office

The winner: Spider-Man: Homecoming

The narrative around Sony’s latest iteration of Spider-Man has very much been “third time lucky”, with critics acclaiming a creative breakthrough following an initial trio of films directed by Sam Raimi (starring Tobey Maguire) and a pair helmed by Marc Webb (with Andrew Garfield). Now, with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige as producer and 21-year-old Tom Holland in the title role, Sony has finally got the formula right.

The surprise, then, is that the positive buzz on the film hasn’t translated into bigger audiences in the UK. Spider-Man: Homecoming has opened in the UK with £6.77m along with Wednesday-Thursday previews of £2.6m, taking the five-day total to £9.37m. That compares with an almost identical £6.76m plus Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday previews of £4.33m and an £11.09m six-day total for the previous attempt to reboot the franchise, 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man. (The Amazing Spider-Man 2 began in April 2014 with £6.13m, or £9.01m including previews). Gallingly for critics, 2007’s Spider-Man 3 – considered the least creative of Raimi’s trilogy – not only had the biggest opening (£11.83m without benefit of previews), but it also had the highest total (£33.55m) of any Spider-Man film.

As for the UK performance of Homecoming, Sony will likely blame the sunny skies that depressed box office, with many titles experiencing big drops, and point our attention to a muscular global opening of $257m (£199m). With grey skies back in Britain, the studio will be looking for a nice hold for Homecoming this weekend.

The runner-up: Despicable Me 3

Despite falling a hefty 53% from its opening frame, Despicable Me 3 posted second-weekend takings of £5.28m – a healthy figure, by any measure. The Illumination Entertainment production has now grossed £19.58m after 10 days. That puts it behind the pace of last summer’s Finding Dory, which had reached £20.25m over 10 days of play, although the Pixar title benefited from being released during a school holiday period. (This week, only Scottish and private schools have broken up for the summer holidays.)

The big falls

Three titles on the UK Top 10 (Transformers: The Last Knight, The House, Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge) and a couple just outside it (The Mummy, Baywatch) fell by more than 70% from the previous session. The Transformers movie has now seen grosses erode from a first session of £3.89m to a second of £1.60m and a third of a mere £441,000. With £8.96m so far, it could well fail to crack £10m at the UK box office. The Previous Transformers film, 2014’s Age of Extinction, had a lifetime total of £19.5m. The Mummy is now at £8.63m and looks certain to fall short of £10m, as does Baywatch at £9.51m. Still, spare a thought for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, out for the count with a total UK box office of £4.88m.

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