After The Inbetweeners Movie grossed £45m in the UK back in 2011, it was a foregone conclusion that there would be a healthy audience appetite for a sequel. But comedy can be a fast-moving target, and three years represented ample time for fan excitement to ebb. Would the market respond again with equivalent interest?
So far, the answer is in the affirmative, with a £12.54m opening for The Inbetweeners 2, including previews of £4.49m. That’s a slim 5% down on the £13.22m debut of The Inbetweeners Movie, including previews of £4.57m. It’s worth remembering that, at the time, the box-office result for the first Inbetweeners film was considered sensationally ahead of any reasonable expectation. It was also the biggest debut for a live-action comedy, a distinction it retains to this day.
The opening number for The Inbetweeners 2 is the biggest of 2014 so far, regardless of whether you are comparing Friday-to-Sunday figures or previews-inclusive totals. X-Men: Days of Future Past was previously the top debuting title this year, with £7.55m (plus £1.59m in previews), which compares with £8.05m (plus previews) for The Inbetweeners 2. Thanks to a hefty six days of previews, grossing £8.04m, Transformers: Age of Extinction managed a nine-day “opening” of £11.75m, which compares with The Inbetweeners 2’s five-day debut of £12.54m.
Excluding previews from consideration, The Inbetweeners 2 has posted the best opening since The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug landed last December with £9.35m. Including previews, it’s the best since Despicable Me 2 arrived in June 2013 with £14.82m.
Sequels usually play more front-loaded than the first entry in a franchise, since they inherit the fans of the earlier film, who typically rush to see the next instalment. Box office for The Inbetweeners Movie fell only 34% in its second frame. You’d expect to see a bigger drop this time around, although an IMDb user rating of 7.5/10 suggests The Inbetweeners 2 is enjoying positive word among cinemagoers, and largely positive reviews (74% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) may help woo broader comedy fans beyond the core fanbase.
While 2014 so far has been relatively light on big action-blockbuster hits – nothing at the level of Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises or The Avengers – and lacks a family film to match Despicable Me 2, adult-skewing comedies have helped fill the gap. Bad Neighbours, 22 Jump Street and Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, all 15-certificate titles, have so far reached £16.0m, £18.6m and £14.5m respectively, and The Inbetweeners 2 is clearly going to steam past them all. In 2013, only one 15-rated comedy made it past £10m in the UK: The Hangover: Part III, with £19.3m.