UK Box Office

OBLIVION

Reviews were mixed, and the early April release date suggested a movie falling short of the blockbuster premier league, but there was nothing puny about the opening-weekend box office for Oblivion: £3.36m, plus Wednesday/Thursday previews totaling £1.60m. The five-day £4.96m debut compares with £2.79m for GI Joe: Retaliation from a couple of weeks ago, and a previews-inflated £3.58m opening for star Tom Cruise‘s previous effort Jack Reacher in late December. Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski’s earlier Tron: Legacy debuted with £1.97m back in 2010. Cruise also has a strong track record in the sci-fi genre. War of the Worlds debuted in July 2005 with £8.64m, and Minority Report in July 2002 with £4.51m.

Studios always review results for all their releases, and now Universal is in the happy position of wondering what went right with Oblivion. As a property, it benefited from significantly less pre-existing brand awareness than Jack Reacher, which is based on the popular crime fiction of Lee Child. Sunday sunshine saw dips for films right across the market, including for Oblivion, but the headline number remains robust. The science fiction audience has been underserved of late, unless you count horror hybrid Dark Skies, and family titles have dominated, with Oz the Great and Powerful and The Croods occupying the top spot for the previous five weeks. This time last year, Battleship kicked off the summer blockbuster season early. Cinemagoers were evidently ready for adult-skewing, star-driven big-screen entertainment mounted with scope and scale.

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