UK Box Office


A week ago, contenders for the best picture Oscar American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave and The Wolf of Wall Streetstood more or less neck and neck with around £11m apiece. Now the Scorsese comedy has pulled ahead with just shy of £15m, compared with £13.69m for Slave and £12.2m for Hustle. The Wolf of Wall Street is already the ninth-biggest 18-certificate movie at the UK box-office, behind Hannibal (£21.6m), American Beauty (£21.3m), Seven (£19.5m), Silence of the Lambs (£17.1m), Bruno (£15.8m), Django Unchained (£15.7m), Basic Instinct (£15.5m) and Fatal Attraction (£15.4m). Wolf will very soon overtake the last four films on that list, and has a good shot at £20m lifetime. The Bruno figure includes some box-office for the 15-certificate version. Including Monday takings, Wolf is now at £15.17m.

With a 34% fall from the previous weekend, Wolf is demonstrating marginally better traction than Slave (down 36%), which benefited from a 13% expansion of screens. In contrast, Hustle is now shedding cinemas, and fell a heftier 43% in revenue. Speaking to the Times Magazine, Samuel L Jackson recently made wide-ranging comments about 12 Years a Slave, including one about its middling commercial performance: “Was the story worth telling? Yeah. Financially? The last count here was moderately OK.” That assessment is more pertinent to the actor’s home country, where it has taken $45.8m (£28.14m) to date – less than half of both Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle. In contrast, Slave has played genuinely broadly in the UK, as director Steve McQueen acknowledged when accepting the Best Film prize at the London Critics’ Circle Film awards on Sunday: “I have people in the street – builders, bus drivers – being so supportive to the movie. I’ve felt so much love for this film in this country and I’m so humbled and heartwarmed that it’s from my own country.”

The new arrivals

For the first time since mid-November, no new release managed £1m at the UK box-office. Top of the heap proved to be dating comedy That Awkward Moment, starring Zac Efron. Local distributor eOne faced a tricky positioning challenge, since the film unfolds from the perspective of three male characters – which pushes it towards The Hangover or 21 and Over – but Efron is an actor more likely to appeal to a female audience, and his romance with Imogen Poots’s character is the central storyline. Marketed as a ribald date movie with appeal to both genders, the film was maybe aiming for the crowd that embraced the Britcom I Give It a Year last February. An opening of £961,000 resulted, although this was boosted by Wednesday/Thursday previews of £184,000 – strip those out, and the weekend tally goes down to £777,000.

Having already flopped the previous weekend in the US, and toplined by second-tier star Aaron Eckhart I, Frankenstein never looked likely to perform well here. A debut of £811,000 may come as mild relief for local distributor Entertainment Films, although once again this figure was boosted by previews, without which the weekend tally dips to £648,000.

Down in sixth place, the Mark Wahlberg-starring Afghanistan war picture Lone Survivor, in fact did better than I, Frankenstein on a like-for-like comparison, since its £752,000 haul was achieved without previews. The number is not so far behind the three-day tally for That Awkward Moment, albeit on more screens

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