UK Box Office

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Arriving with £2.01m including previews of £469,000, Need for Speed dethrones 300: Rise of an Empire to occupy the chart summit, in the process becoming the lowest-grossing chart-topper of 2014. In fact, Need for Speed has delivered the lowest weekend takings for a top title since last October. Sunny skies at the weekend are likely to have reduced box-office, although with temperatures cooling just in time for the crucial evening showtimes, warm spring weather is usually less detrimental to a film’s success than hot sunshine at the start of the summer.

Need for Speed is the first lead role in a wide release for Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul. The 34-year-old was last seen on the big screen in Smashed, a US indie co-starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead. That film opened in December 2012 at a single cinema, with debut takings of £1,991.

Need for Speed’s debut compares with a £1.76m start for The Fast and the Furious back in 2001. However that film had the misfortune to open in the UK three days after the 9/11 attacks, and failed to match its US success from earlier that summer. Takings for 300: Rise of an Empire have fallen 56% from the previous weekend, representing the biggest drop of any film in the top 10.

The crossover sensation

Rising a place to number two, with a drop of just 9%, The Grand Budapest Hotel continues its sensational run. After 10 days, the film has grossed £4.12m, which is more than the lifetime totals of all Wes Anderson‘s previous live-action films, exceeded only by animated hit Fantastic Mr Fox (£9.19m). Anderson’s previous best non-animated film was The Royal Tenenbaums, with £3.33m, and then Moonrise Kingdom with £2.06m.

One of the factors behind the strong hold at the weekend is Grand Budapest Hotel’s expansion from 284 cinemas to 372. However, a screen average of £3,519 is very respectable for a film playing this wide – ie occupying some of the UK’s lesser-performing sites – or for a title on its second week of release. Box-office reporting for Grand Budapest Hotel is now including receipts from the film’s London Secret Cinema run, which will also be providing a boost.

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