http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog ... ight-rises
Back in early 2009, Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire created a challenge for rival awards-hopefuls such as Frost/Nixon and Milk by sucking all the air out of the market. Two years later, Boyle's 127 Hours might have done a bit better had it not faced stiff competition from fellow Oscar contenders The King's Speech and Black Swan. Now Boyle is once again in the competitive mix, with his highly praised Olympics opening ceremony drawing 23m viewers on Friday night on BBC1, and a peak of 27m.
The Dark Knight Rises
Production year: 2012
Country: Rest of the world
Cert (UK): 12A
Runtime: 164 mins
Directors: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Aidan Gillen, Anne Hathaway, Christian Bale, Daniel Sunjata, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Juno Temple, Liam Neeson, Marion Cotillard, Matthew Modine, Morgan Freeman, Sir Michael Caine, Tom Hardy
Cinema grosses were affected, although variations between films were significant. Family films, which don't attract many viewers in the late-evening slot occupied by the opening ceremony, saw fairly even distribution of box office across the three days of the weekend, with Friday benefiting from being a school holiday. The Dark Knight Rises saw less than 25% of its weekend box office earned on a Friday, as against a buoyant 36% for Sunday. You would expect those two numbers to be a lot closer during a holiday period. And the effect was even more pronounced for the documentary Searching for Sugar Man, with just 15% of the weekend's taking earned on a Friday, as against 43% on Sunday.
Once again, top film in the market was The Dark Knight Rises, with a second weekend tally of £7.28m, and a 10-day cume of £30.55m. The Christopher Nolan picture is now indisputably the fastest grossing film of 2012, since Avengers Assemble took 12 days to cross the £30m barrier. Four years ago, The Dark Knight took 15 days to achieve that sum. So far, the Avengers movie has grossed £51.8m, and Warners must feel confident of matching it with The Dark Knight Rises, given the long school holiday ahead and lack of significant direct competition.
The animated battle
Dr Seuss' The Lorax enters the chart at number two, with a respectable £1.85m, pushing Ice Age 4: Continental Drift into third place with £1.54m. However, an examination of the small print reveals that The Lorax achieved its sum thanks to previews totalling £609,000 – the film opened a whole week earlier in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland, and also played across the UK on the Saturday and Sunday (21 and 22 July) prior to official release. Strip out those previews, and The Lorax's three-day weekend number falls to £1.24m.
When you compare The Lorax's opening with the previous Seuss animation, Horton Hears a Who!, the numbers don't flatter the new arrival: Horton debuted in March 2008 with £2.95m, including £1.31m in previews. However, given the disappointing preview figures for The Lorax on 21 and 22 July – when the film faced scorching hot weather and the opening weekend of The Dark Knight Rises – Universal will probably be slightly relieved by the result. The film now has a pretty clear run at the school holiday audience until the arrival of Disney/Pixar's Brave on 13 August, although it does face from this Friday the third Diary of a Wimpy Kid flick. Ratings at Rotten Tomatoes tell an interesting tale: only 23% "fresh" among top critics, but 55% among all critics, and 67% among site users. If the film ends up under-performing, analysts will inevitably ponder whether it might have done better going out on the June half-term holiday, when there was a gap in the market for a film appealing to young children – one that the cheaply produced Top Cat opportunistically plugged, grossing a handy £2.7m.
Ice Age 4 is the ninth release of 2012 to pass the £20m barrier, joining, in ascending order of box office merit: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Woman in Black, Men in Black 3, The Hunger Games, The Amazing Spider-Man, Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises and Avengers Assemble. Ice Age 4, with £21.22m, has already overtaken the lifetime totals of Tangled, Despicable Me and both Kung Fu Pandas, as well as, for example, the two Iron Man movies and every X-Men flick.
Pushed back into 162 cinemas, Aardman's The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists re-enters the chart at number eight. Its total to date of £16.47m places it between Cars (£16.52m) and Gnomeo & Juliet (£15.92m) in the all-time animated feature chart.
The midweek marvel
Dropping a neither-good-nor-bad 39%, Magic Mike posted reasonable third-weekend takings of £537,000 for a healthy £6.7m cume, but the real story is how much it grossed over the last seven days: £1.45m. This is a film that is performing better midweek than at the weekend, and was the only picture in the current top 15 to do better on Friday than Sunday. Conclusions: Magic Mike's female-skewing audience was willing to forsake Boyle's Olympics spectacle for a buffet of naked male flesh, but Sunday remains a day for spending time with partners.
The arthouse market
Outside the top five, the box-office chart is notably short of winners, allowing Searching for Sugar Man, with a decent £69,000 from 28 sites (including previews of £22,000) to nab seventh place. UK distributor StudioCanal played a blinder with the release date, since there was so little else out, and many serious critics (including the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw) gave it the lead review slot. Non-concert music documentaries often struggle to translate critical heat into bums on seats, although Marley, with £952,000, is a notable exception.
Overall, grosses are 17% down on the equivalent weekend from a year ago, when Captain America: The First Avenger was the top new release, and the final Harry Potter film ruled the roost for the third straight weekend. Scottish cinemas will be looking forward to the arrival of the locally relevant Brave this Friday, but other parts of the UK will instead be pinning hopes on Seth MacFarlane's Ted, which has grossed $194m in the US, and plugs the gap in the market for a risqué, sweary comedy. Live-action sequel Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days goes up against the animated movies that are currently targeting families.
Top 10 films
1. The Dark Knight Rises, £7,275,558 from 589 sites. Total: £30,551,765
2. Dr Seuss' The Lorax, £1,853,294 from 507 sites (New)
3. Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, £1,544,322 from 518 sites. Total: £21,222,522
4. The Amazing Spider-Man, £686,952 from 473 sites. Total: £23,816,960
5. Magic Mike, £536,749 from 472 sites. Total: £6,697,323
6. The Five-Year Engagement, £75,134 from 155 sites. Total: £4,865,174
7. Searching for Sugar Man, £68,857 from 28 sites (New)
8. The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, £44,389 from 162 sites. Total: £16,446,344
9. Carry on Jatta, £36,760 from nine sites (New)
10. Men in Black 3, £34,497 from 133 sites. Total: £21,839,375
Kya Super Kool Hain Hum, 20 sites, £28,151
The Man Inside, 24 sites, £7,105
Red Desert, three sites, £4,492
Silence, four sites, £3,701 (Ireland only)
El Bulli, four sites, £2,635
Woman in a Dressing Gown, three sites, £1,180