UK Box Office

Monsters University, film

When the opening weekend numbers came in for Monsters University, Disney UK might be forgiven a moment of panic: the £3.46m three-day tally was only the 12th biggest debut of 2013, and way behind the pace of recent Pixar hits. But with the long school summer holiday ahead of it, this was always going to be a marathon rather than a sprint, and opening in a heatwave clearly hadn’t helped the initial number.

It’s fair to speculate that the mood is more relaxed at Disney’s Hammersmith, London HQ now that Monsters University has posted third-weekend takings of £3.11m, a highly encouraging 11% up on the second-frame haul of £2.79m. After 17 days of release, the animated prequel has grossed a solid £15.45m, with a nifty £6.82m achieved just in the last seven days. With kids now on holiday and available for cinema trips every afternoon of the week, the box-office pace has accelerated. Comparisons with last Pixar film Brave are hard to make, as that film opened in Scotland two weeks ahead of England. Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph had reached £18.62m after 17 days, but by then it already used up its school-holiday platform (the February half term), and it fell hard thereafter. Until Monsters University starts declining, its lifetime total is very hard to predict.

Meanwhile a rampant Despicable Me 2 also went up at the weekend, rising a similar 12%. With £4.40m added in the past seven days for an amazing five-week total of £34.68m, the Universal Illumination picture is unlikely to be beaten by any rival animation this year. Despicable Me 2 is the first film since Skyfall to post fifth-weekend takings in excess of £2m, and the first animated feature to do so since Toy Story 3 delivered £2.11m on its fifth weekend in August 2010. (Arthur Christmas achieved a slightly different feat, clearing £2m on its first, second, third and seventh weekends of play – the latter being Christmas weekend 2011.)

Despicable Me 2 has recently overtaken Up, Shrek Forever After and The Incredibles in the all-time animated box-office pantheon, and is beaten only by – in ascending order – Ice Age III, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc, The Simpsons, Shrek the Third, Toy Story 2, Shrek 2 and Toy Story 3. Also Avatar, if you count that as animated.

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