Brad Pitt confirmed his enduring box-office power with a No 1 opening for Fury, grossing just under £2m over the three-day weekend period, plus £698,000 in previews. A relatively straightforward second world war film about a five-man US tank crew, Fury didn’t necessarily offer an irresistible must-see hook, nor is it based on a particular real-life event that might have helped win it extra attention. But on-balance positive reviews (a 64/100 score at Metacritic) plus publicity generated by Pitt’s red-carpet appearance at the London film festival will have helped.
Although different in tone, a comparison might be made with The Monuments Men, directed by and starring Pitt’s friend George Clooney. The starry art-rescue flick debuted earlier this year with £1.62m, on its way to £6.3m. With £2.69m already, Fury looks on course to exceed that total. Pitt’s biggest UK opening weekend to date was delivered last year by World War Z, with £4.54m. The zombie-virus film is Pitt’s biggest hit globally, with £334m at cinemas.
Given the long delay between filming (late spring 2012) and release, expectations were suitably modest for Serena, a Depression-era drama starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Even so, a UK debut in lowly 19th place, with a dismal £95,000 from 185 screens, still qualifies as disappointing. Silver Linings Playbook, which likewise paired Cooper and Lawrence in lead roles, debuted in November 2012 with £1.25m, including £292,000 in previews. Just over a year later, the first weekend of wide play saw American Hustle (significant supporting parts for the actors) deliver £3.47m, including £1.11m in previews.