UK Box Office

Tight grip maintained on UK box office as Sam Taylor-Johnson’s S&M tale whips past The Wolf of Wall Street to claim record – and there’s good news for Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Never Beast.


Hurts so good … Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson in Fifty Shades of Grey

Despite a hefty fall of 66% from its opening frame, Fifty Shades of Grey led the field by a clear margin on its second weekend of release. After 10 days, it has grossed a spectacular £25.24m, overtaking The Wolf of Wall Street (£22.70m lifetime) to be the biggest ever 18-certificate title at the UK box office.

Between 16-22 February, Fifty Shades earned £11.69m, indicating that audiences were still lining up to see it following a strong opening weekend when it earned £13.55m). In percentage terms, it suffered the biggest drop for a number-one title since The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 fell an identical 66% in November 2012. That film ended up achieving a rather slim 2.26 times its opening weekend by the end of its run. Fifty Shades should show slightly stronger legs, but a similar rate of decay would deliver a cumulative total around £31m.

In the UK, Fifty Shades is far ahead of the pace it’s achieving in the US. By industry rule of thumb, an equivalent UK result to the US box-office of $129m would be about £13m. In fact, it’s nearly double that figure, perhaps reflecting local enthusiasm for the source material and actor Jamie Dornan, or just an exceptional release campaign by Universal UK.

The half-term surge

All the family films in the market enjoyed excellent business over the February half-term holiday. Disney’s Big Hero 6 rose 40% from the previous frame, and added £6.31m over the seven days. Aardman animation Shaun the Sheep the Movie rose 39%, and added £5.98m over the seven days. Totals for the films stand at £16.18m for Big Hero 6 and £10.35m for Shaun.

Now that kids are back at school, numbers for both these titles should drop, but Big Hero 6 is already past the lifetime total of Cars 2 (£15.65m) and should push past £20m, matching the likes of Kung Fu Panda (£20.29m) and Tangled(£20.47m).

Paddington rose 36% at the weekend – perhaps a last hurrah for a film that has been on release for three solid months, and arrives on DVD on March 23. Cumulative total is a sensational £36.95m.

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