UK Box Office


Following two weeks at the top spot, Fifty Shades of Grey cedes its place to a film that could hardly be more different: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Having said that, most would agree that it is female cinemagoers that are driving the audience for both these literature-originating franchises.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel debuted with a rosy £3.07m over the Friday-to-Sunday period, plus £705,000 in Thursday previews. That compares with a first session of £2.22m for its predecessor exactly three years ago. The original Best Exotic Marigold Hotel went on to achieve £20.4m in the UK, with positive word-of-mouth driving the total to a very healthy 9.2 times the opening weekend.

With a sequel, you would expect the box-office to be more front-loaded, and nobody is expecting such a high multiple of the debut number this time around. On the other hand, the film is likely to do consistently well midweek with older viewers, so the best is possibly yet to come.

Judging by the film’s top-performing site list, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is connecting especially well with audiences in towns and suburbs across the south of England. Multiplex cinemas in Cheltenham, Guildford, Portsmouth, Milton Keynes, Watford, Basildon, Crawley and Chichester all appear among the film’s top 10 grossing venues, as do Showcase Bluewater and Odeon Leicester Square.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is an original story based on characters created by Deborah Moggach in her novel These Foolish Things. The film reunites director John Madden and screenwriter Ol Parker with all the first episode’s surviving cast members.

The runner-up

Having fallen 66% in its second frame, Fifty Shades of Grey drops a calmer 51% third time around. After 17 days, the film has grossed a mighty £30.31m, making it the fastest-grossing film since Iron Man 3 notched up £31.12m in its first three weekends of play (a figure that was, however, boosted by £2.32m in previews). Excluding previews, Fifty Shades is the fastest-grossing film since the first Hobbit movie in December 2012.

The EL James adaptation is now £7.61m ahead of the second-ranked title in the all-time box-office chart for 18 certificate films, The Wolf of Wall Street (lifetime of £22.70m). Adjusting for inflation, and using average ticket-price information supplied by the Film Distributors Association, Fifty Shades remains behind 18-certificate titles including Hannibal (£21.58m = £35.03m in today’s money) and American Beauty (£21.39m = £32.66m in today’s money). Earlier 18-certificate titles Seven and The Silence of the Lambs are also likely to remain ahead of Fifty Shades, when ticket prices are inflation-adjusted.

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