UK Box Office

The winner: Blade Runner 2049

A US debut of $33m was judged disappointing, but Blade Runner 2049’s UK result has lived up to expectations, and the territory is the international star performer. Denis Villeneuve’s film begins with £5.21m from 634 cinemas for the weekend, and £6.07m including Thursday. Site average is a robust £8,223, or £9,577 if previews are added in.

Comparisons with the original Blade Runner are not possible since Ridley Scott’s 1982 film predates the birth of official box office data gathering in the UK. (Various rereleases of Blade Runner, including a Director’s Cut and a Final Cut, have collectively earned £1.93m.)

Instead, analysts are turning to other decades-later reboots for box office comparisons. For example, Mad Max: Fury Road began in May 2015 with £4.54m including £639,000 in previews. Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, which took some of its creative DNA from the Alien franchise, kicked off in June 2012 with £6.24m.

Blade Runner 2049 gives Ryan Gosling his second big hit of the year, after La La Land, which debuted in January with £6.60m, including £944,000 in previews. Previously, major box office success had eluded the actor, thanks to his preference for indie movies such as Drive (£3.04m lifetime) and The Place Beyond the Pines(£3.43m). The Notebook (2004), now cited by fans as one of the great romantic weepies, reached only £1.21m. Before 2017, Gosling’s biggest UK hit was Gangster Squad, with £5.25m. Including supporting roles, he also has The Big Short (£6.03m).

The runner-up: Kingsman

The arrival of Blade Runner 2049 sucked up a huge number of screens, to say nothing of the attention of audiences, and virtually every existing film in the marketplace fell by at least 50%. In that context, a decline of 50% for Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a decent result – Matthew Vaughn’s film added £2.11m for a 19-day tally of £19.46m. The title will soon become the 16th this year to pass £20m at UK cinemas, joining – in order of box office merit – Beauty and the Beast, Dunkirk, Despicable Me 3Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, It, Spider-Man: Homecoming, La La Land, Fast & Furious 8SingThe Boss BabyThe Lego Batman MovieLoganFifty Shades DarkerWonder Woman and War for the Planet of the Apes.

Dunkirk sets new Nolan record

The weekend saw Dunkirk reach £56.5m, overtaking The Dark Knight Rises to become Christopher Nolan’s biggest ever UK hit. Dunkirk has significantly punched above its weight in the UK – which is not that surprising given the very British storyline and characters. Globally, Dunkirk has reached $522m, which compares with $1.08bn for The Dark Knight Rises and just over $1bn for The Dark Knight.

Annual trend: first three quarters

Data gatherer comScore has issued its latest monthly update showing box office for the first three quarters of the year – in fact, since it’s a weekly model, for the first 39 weeks of the year from 6 January to 5 October. Total UK and Ireland box office for the period is £1.01bn, which is up 6% on the same period in 2016. Box office was 18% up on 2016 at the end of the first quarter and 12% up on 2016 at the end of the second, so the strong lead has been gradually eroded as the year has worn on. It’s possible that the trend could continue and 2017 end roughly even with 2016, but strong titles in the fourth quarter – including Thor: RagnarokJustice LeaguePaddington 2 and Star Wars: The Last Jedi – make that outcome unlikely.

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