The winner: Marvel – yet again
Decent weather and a lack of strong commercially appealing new releases saw a continuing decline in UK box office, down 13% on the previous session, and 33% below the equivalent frame from 2015, when Pitch Perfect 2 topped the chart. Disney Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War resisted the challenge of Sony Animation’s The Angry Birds Movie, hanging on to the top spot for the third week, and with a decent 42% decline. After 17 days, the box office is a robust £32.2m. Civil War is the fourth 2016 release to cross £30m here, following Deadpool, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and The Jungle Book. Civil War is just behind the pace of Batman v Superman, which stood at £33.3m at the same stage of its run.
The runner-up: The Angry Birds Movie
Sony’s adaptation of the Rovio game debuted with a so-so £2.12m. The biggest animated hit so far this year is Disney’s Zootropolis, which debuted in March with £5.31m, including previews of £1.73m. The Angry Birds Movie would probably have made a splashier debut had it arrived in 2013 when development of the film was announced – but lengthy production schedules for animated features tend to resist any attempt by studios to speed them up.
The 2016 champ: The Jungle Book
Still in the box-office top three in its fifth week of play, and with £39.3m, Disney’s The Jungle Book has just overtaken Fox-Marvel’s Deadpool (£37.9m) to become the biggest hit of the year so far. Takings were just 24% down on the previous weekend – evidence that audience word of mouth continues to hold up on the Rudyard Kipling adaptation. The film looks certain to overtake the lifetime total of Alice in Wonderland (£42.5m) and could well catch The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (£44.4m) – two family titles that far exceeded box-office expectations.
A quintet of mid-size films was released collectively on 721 screens, delivering a poor total of £783,000, including previews. Best result was achieved by John le Carré adaptation Our Kind of Traitor, starring Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris, Damian Lewis and Stellan Skarsgård: £358,000 from 245 sites, yielding an average of £1,461.
Critical support couldn’t push Richard Linklater’s campus comedy Everybody Wants Some!! very far, despite the director coming off the widely admired Oscar winner Boyhood. It debuted with £170,000 from 111 cinemas, but that includes £35,000 in previews. For comparison, Boyhood kicked off in July 2014 with £333,000 from 89 cinemas. Commercial chances for the new film may not have been helped in the UK by the profusion of college baseball players among principal characters – a fact that the trailer could not hide. The look and feel of the film also appeared very male, and it was certainly a challenge to communicate the disarming sweetness that gradually emerges.
Landing just inside the Top 10 is Jeremy Saulnier’s 18-rated Green Room, starring Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots and Patrick Stewart. A debut of £145,000 from 136 sites includes previews of £49,000. Strip those out, and the film’s screen average falls to a weak £706.
All of the aforementioned new releases look like hits when compared with the two films that round out the quintet: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and The Darkness. Both landed outside the Top 10. The former, a Tina Fey comedy drama based on US journalist Kim Barker’s memoir The Taliban Shuffle, struggled to define its audience, debuting in 12th place with £59,000 from 123 sites for a £478 average. Three places below it is horror title The Darkness, starring Jennifer Mason and Kevin Bacon, which kicks off with a limp £51,000 from 106 sites, for a similar average of £486. MetaCritic score is a poor 28/100.
It’s hard to escape the conclusion that, in at least a couple of cases, commercially problematic films were being pushed into the marketplace in what has been a relatively fallow period between Captain America: Civil War and the forthcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.
Salvation for cinemas is surely at hand this week with X-Men: Apocalypse, the third in the series to feature James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence, and the eighth appearance for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Counter-programming alternatives include Dublin-set teen comedy Sing Street, from Once director John Carney, expanding to mainland UK having already racked up an impressive £857,000 in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Tom Hanks toplines A Hologram for the King, adapted from the Dave Eggers book and directed by Tom Tykwer.
Top 10 films, 13-15 May
1. Captain America: Civil War, £2,789,985 from 586 sites. Total: £32,162,068
2. The Angry Birds Movie, £2,138,507 from 520 sites (new)
3. The Jungle Book, £1,628,456 from 506 sites. Total: £39,312,115
4. Bad Neighbours 2, £1,099,710 from 495 sites. Total: £3,733,673
5. Florence Foster Jenkins, £461,784 from 574 sites. Total: £1,883,019
6. Our Kind of Traitor, £358,180 from 245 sites (new)
7. Everybody Wants Some!!, £169,764 from 111 sites (new)
8. Secret Cinema: 28 Days Later, £158,989 from 1 site. Total: £929,662
9. Eye in the Sky, £153,959 from 298 sites. Total: £4,631,689
10. Green Room, £144,517 from 136 sites (new)
Mustang, £65,038 from 43 sites
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, £58,798 from 123 sites
The Darkness, £51,490 from 106 sites
Azhar, £37,291 from 24 sites
SPL 2: A Time of Consequences, £5,071 from 15 sites
Cabin Fever, £3,229 from 22 sites
Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art, £2,958 from three sites
Kill Command, £944 from two sites
The Seventh Fire, £602 from two sites
• Thanks to comScore. All figures relate to takings in UK and Ireland cinemas.