The Martian still marooned at the top
of the UK box office
Ridley Scott’s sci-fi spectacular appeals across the generations, with strong expectations for half term
The winner: The Martian
Declining a slim 21% from its opening frame, Ridley Scott’s The Martian had no trouble holding on to the top spot at the UK box office. After 12 days, the film has taken an impressive £13.21m.
An apt comparison might be Interstellar, in which Matt Damon, curiously, also played an astronaut stranded on a distant planet. That film fell 29% on its second weekend, by which time it had grossed £12.13m. It then fell hard and fast, with consecutive drops of 50%, 39%, 47% and 65%, suggesting that it quickly burned through its audience after the initial rush of Christopher Nolan fans.
The same fate may yet befall The Martian, but it seems unlikely. One good sign is that it appears to be playing to a younger audience than might have been expected.
Distributor Fox agrees that “this seems very much in line with what we are hearing and how the film is playing – throughout the day, to young and old, teens and adults, men and women alike”. They are hoping for a strong half-term hold, despite competition from other titles.
Director Scott’s biggest hit in the UK remains Gladiator, with £31.2m. The Martian has a long way to go to match it, but it should soon push past Robin Hood(£15.6m) and then overtake Hannibal (£21.6m). Fox would presumably be delighted to reach as far as Prometheus, which managed £25m.
The runner-up: Sicario
Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario has opened with £1.38m, Thursday previews taking the tally to £1.6m. Two years ago, Villeneuve’s Prisoners began with a comparable £1.33m, plus more modest previews of £38,000, but it’s worth bearing in mind that Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, stars of the earlier film, provided more certain marketable elements than Sicario’s Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin. Add in the fact that a Spanish-language title might be seen as a marketing challenge in the UK, and distributor Lionsgate should be happy to match Prisoners’ debut.
Blunt previously showed her action mettle opposite Tom Cruise in Doug Liman’sEdge of Tomorrow, which began in May 2014 with £1.89m. She was also supporting in Rian Johnson’s Looper, which started strong in September 2102 with £2.43m. Hollywood will now be considering whether Blunt could carry a major action movie in the mould of Scarlett Johansson’s Lucy.
The family films
Pan and Hotel Transylvania 2 played widely last weekend, ahead of their official release on 16 October. In fact, Hotel Transylvania 2 also played the previous Saturday and Sunday, so has now enjoyed four full days of previews. Word is that Hotel Transylvania 2 is cleaning up, and looks set to report a huge seven-day “opening weekend” figure.
The preview strategy on these titles may be affecting Robert Zemeckis’s The Walk– at least to the degree that the film is positioned for a family audience. It has debuted with £527,000, with a week of Imax and large-format previews bringing the total to £795,000. On the one hand, the 17-minute sequence, featuring the walk back and forth between the roofs of the World Trade Center’s twin towers offers a spectacular sensation audiences haven’t experienced in the cinema. On the other, a film about a French tightrope walker starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt isn’t an automatic sell. Performance-capture king Zemeckis’s last significant hit in live-action was Cast Away in 2001.
Filmgoers who saw Man on Wire, the award-winning 2008 documentary that captured these events, may be staying away.
The flop: Regression
Alejandro Amenabar’s crime thriller Regression opened poorly with£215,000 from 270 cinemas. Starring Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson, the cast elements are not hugely compelling, and the tagline – “Fear always finds its victim” – is pithy but generic. Falling into the horror, thriller and drama categories, this latest from the director of The Others probably needed decent critical support or film-festival buzz to help sock it over.
The premiere event: I Believe in Miracles
Easily winning the strongest screen average of any film on release is I Believe in Miracles, with £75,500 from a single venue. That’s because the release at the weekend was Sunday’s premiere event, at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground stadium. The documentary celebrates the five-year period in which manager Brian Clough took the football club from the middle of the old second division to the top of the first, and two European Cup wins. The film now expands nationwide.
The flatliner: Addicted to Fresno
Playing exclusively at Showcase Newham, US indie Addicted to Fresno achieved a barely measurable box-office gross. The film, starring Natasha Lyonne, Judy Greer and Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza reported a take of £16 – two off-peak tickets, presumably.
The 18-certificate hit: Legend
Legend, starring Tom Hardy as both Kray twins, added another £1.38m, pushing it to £16.75m. That’s enough to push it up to No 8 in the all-time 18-certificate chart. Next in its sights is The Silence of the Lambs, with £17.12m. Higher still are Fifty Shades of Grey, The Wolf of Wall Street, Gone Girl, Hannibal, American Beauty and Seven.
Everest, another Working Title production, is now at £9.77m, and will pass £10m this week.
Given a lack of blockbuster releases, it’s not so surprising to see overall takings down 20% on the previous frame, and also 19% down on the equivalent weekend from 2014, when The Maze Runner, Annabelle and One Direction: Where We Are added some pep.
A week before half-term for most schools, Pan and Transylvania 2 both officially land on 16 October. They are joined by Guillermo Del Toro’s haunted-house filmCrimson Peak, Stephen Frears’ Lance Armstrong biopic The Program and Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos’ English-language debut The Lobster. Suffragette, starring Carey Mulligan, opened on Monday, and will have a full seven days of takings to report in a week’s time. Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet goes out live from London’s Barbican to cinemas nationwide on Thursday, and presumably there will be encore showings at venues that are already sold out.
Top 10 films, 9-11 October
1. The Martian, £3,854,809 from 582 sites. Total: £13,211,096
2. Sicario, £1,596,734 from 434 sites (new)
3. The Walk, £795,115 from 481 sites (new)
4. Legend, £709,718 from 414 sites. Total: £16,746,897
5. The Intern, £506,864 from 426 sites. Total: £1,823,397
6. Everest, £498,188 from 439 sites. Total: £9,770,287
7. Macbeth, £465,932 from 404 sites. Total: £1,838,835
8. The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, £321,278 from 366 sites. Total: £8,384,534
9. Regression, £214,742 from 270 sites (new)
10. Inside Out, £185,438 from 422 sites. Total: £38,375,834
Giselle – Bolshoi Ballet, £128,875 from 214 sites
I Believe in Miracles, £75,528 from one site
Jazbaa, £54,680 from 25 sites
Dildariyaan, £8,722 from six sites
Ennu Ninte Moideen, £7,230 from 18 sites
Red Army, £6,388 from seven sites
Madimak: Carina’nin Gunlugu, £3,705 from one site
The Nightmare, £1,725 from two sites
Zarafa, £116 from two sites
Addicted to Fresno, £16 from one site
• Thanks to Rentrak
First Trailer For Ridley Scott’s The Martian