UK Box Office

Mr Peabody & Sherman

Despite competition from paid previews on The Lego Movie, DreamWorks Animation‘s Mr Peabody & Sherman posted a decent debut of £3.92m. Mind you, it’s worth noting that Mr Peabody & Sherman likewise pursued a previews strategy – likely a knock-on effect of the Lego tactic – and these contributed a considerable £1.39m of the total. The figure compares favourably with previous DreamWorks Animation release Turbo, which landed with £3.89m, including £1.77m in previews, last October.

While Turbo, the story of a motor-racing snail, was one of DreamWorks Animation’s lesser appealing titles, Mr Peabody & Sherman might still have struggled to match it. Conceptually, it’s not an obvious easy sell – the story of an erudite beagle who adopts a boy and takes him on time-travelling adventures – and the property, which comes from a segment on 1960s US TV show Rocky & Bullwinkle, is barely known in the UK. Throw in the competition from The Lego Movie, and international distributor Fox will likely be more than happy with this result.

Official data gatherer Rentrak will not report the Lego previews until next week, but they have been quoted elsewhere as a solid £1.97m. The film opened in the US with just over $69m, and it’s reasonable to expect a blockbuster total from the UK opening.

The runner-up

Reviews were decidedly mixed for RoboCop – it’s not a good sign when Empire magazine, which has an affection for and understanding of genre entertainments, gives a film like this two stars – but box office so far has been pretty robust. An opening of £2.41m from 421 cinemas delivered a decent site average of £5,727 – although the film has benefited from some double-screen occupancy at larger venues, especially those with both Imax and regular projection.

The RoboCop result is well up on the debut of the other remake of a Paul Verhoeven film – Total Recall – which kicked off in August 2012 with £1.53m plus £959,000 in previews. Distributor StudioCanal will be pleased to have nearly matched the Total Recall five-day opening total, without benefit of previews. With cinemas crowded with family flicks and Oscar fare – albeit including populist Oscar fare such as The Wolf of Wall Street – RoboCop offered a clear alternative.

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