UK Box Office

The Conjuring

The Smurfs 2 struggles to resist the power of The Conjuring, at a time of year usually dominated by family titles, James Wan’s horror film temporarily left the Smurfs feeling blue last weekend

Throughout early summer, we tend to see one or two big blockbusters dominate the market each weekend, with the rest of the films on release competing for scraps. As we move into August, the field typically becomes more even, with several mid-size pictures jostling for position. That was certainly the case last weekend, when no fewer than seven films achieved grosses in excess of £1m – the first time this has happened since February 2011, when PaulGnomeo and JulietThe King’s SpeechTrue GritBig Mommas: Like Father, Like SonYogi Bearand Tangled all delivered seven-figure sums in the same frame.
The winner #1
Topping the official Rentrak chart with £3.22m, The Smurfs 2 leads a crowded field of family titles including a still-potent Monsters Universityand Despicable Me 2. The figure for the Smurfs includes £1.45m in previews, and compares with a £3.78m debut (including £1.47m in previews) for the original Smurfs film two summers ago. You might have expected a bigger Smurfs 2 debut for two reasons: first, because sequels in general tend to deliver a relatively bigger proportion of their overall box office on opening weekend; second, because the original Smurfs film proved a real word-of-mouth winner with audiences, achieving a final gross that was 7.5 times its three-day opening. You’d expect the second Smurfs film to be the beneficiary of that warm audience afterglow.

Perhaps Smurfs 2 would have opened bigger had families not still been catching up with Monsters University and Despicable Me 2, to the collective tune of more than £3m for the weekend. After a slow start, Monsters University has now powered its way past £20m, becoming the ninth film to do so this year. With £38.45m to date, Despicable Me 2 is now the UK’s biggest summer hit, overtaking Iron Man 3 (£36.96m).Animation has proved especially potent this year, with four films so far achieving £20m-plus, the others being Wreck-It Ralph and The Croods. Universal has now had the top two films of 2013 at UK cinemas: Les Miserables (£40.66m) and Despicable Me 2.

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