Most kids don’t break up for the Easter holiday until this Friday, yet DreamWorks Animation and distribution partner Fox have already grossed a tidy sum from Home, a road-trip comedy featuring a teenage girl (voiced by Rihanna) and a cute alien (Jim Parsons). It took £3.41m at the weekend; previews from the previous Saturday and Sunday bring takings to a robust £6.26m.
This is the biggest opening for an animated film since The Lego Movie kicked off with £8.05m, including previews of £2.16m, in February 2014. DreamWorks Animation’s Penguins of Madagascar, began with £1.58m in December. A suitable comparison for Home is The Croods, which debuted with £5.37m including previews of £1.85m in March 2013. The Croods went on to rake in £26.9m.
In the US, Insurgent is very slightly down on the opening of its predecessor Divergent. In the UK, and in many international territories, it’s a different story. Divergent debuted in April 2014 with £1.76m; Insurgent is 44% ahead of that, with an opening of £2.55m, plus previews of £385,000. Divergent maxed out at £6.7m in the UK. With £2.94m already achieved, and the holiday to come, Insurgent looks likely to sail past that figure.
The results are not surprising. The second films in the Hunger Games and Twilight series saw big increases on their predecessors in the UK, as more people caught on to the books in the intervening periods. It probably helped that many of Insurgent’s young cast members – notably Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort in The Fault in Our Stars and Miles Teller in Whiplash – saw their profiles rise after Divergent.
A pair of action flops
If Sean Penn has been looking with envy at the late-flourishing action career ofLiam Neeson, then his attempt to emulate it has fallen at the first hurdle. The Gunman, from Taken director Pierre Morel, debuted with £406,000 from 400 cinemas, yielding a weak average of £1,015. In comparison, Taken kicked off with nearly triple that amount – £1.17m – despite average tickets prices being 23% lower in 2008.
But The Gunman’s performance looks positively kickass compared with that of Jason Statham’s latest actioner, Wild Card, which began with a dismal £152,000 from 229 cinemas, and a £664 average. It’s fair to say that distributor Lionsgate didn’t push Wild Card as aggressively as might have been the case. Increasingly, Statham is looking less than a safe bet, except when he’s in franchises bolstered by significant co-star talent (The Expendables, Fast & Furious). Statham’s previous film outside these hit series was Homefront (co-starring James Franco), which debuted with a weak £440,000 from 295 cinemas in December 2013. Before that, he had Hummingbird, which limped out of the gate with £207,000 from 262 venues.Read More….